Outline and Explain Research Into Life Changes as a Source of Stress

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Outline and explain the research into life changes as a source of stress Stress is the response that occurs when we think the demands being placed on us are greater than our ability to cope. Stress, if left unresolved, could lead to serious health problems. People believe that life changes are linked to stress and illness. Life changes are major events that occur in an individual’s lifetime such as death of a loved one, pregnancy, divorce or redundancy. In addition to events that happen in a person’s life, stress can also be a result of something that doesn’t happen. For example, not being promoted or not getting into university are extremely stressful life ‘not-changes’ for several people. Psychological research has provided evidence to support the view that stress can be caused by life changes. Medical doctors, Holmes and Rahe (1967) observed that many of their patients who were suffering from physical illness had recently experienced a range of major live events. These were both positive and negative events, that both involved change. Holmes and Rahe suggested that this affected health. In order to test the idea that life changes are related to physical illness. Holmes and Rahe developed a questionnaire called the Social Readjustment Rating Scale (SRRS) to identify major stressful life events. They analyzed over 5000 patient records and came up with a chart that lists a total of 43 events that can cause stress. In order to establish how stressful each event was they asked 400 participants to score each event in terms of how much readjustment would be needed to overcome the event. From the average scores the life events were awarded a Life Change Unit depending on how traumatic it was felt to be by a large sample of participants.Each of the events were ranked in order of their LCU (Life Change Unit), starting with the most high risk changes down to the lower risk ones. Rahe et al (1970 used the SRRS to test Holmes and Rahe’s hypothesis that the number of live...
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