Life changing events and daily hassles

Stressors can classified into two broad categories: discrete or continuous. Most of the research on discrete stressors has focused on the study of major life events, such as divorce or job loss, that require a significant degree of adjustment on the part of the individual. Continuous stressors, such as ongoing problems of life and living, also permeate our daily reality. Psychologists look at the impact of discrete major stressors, i.e life changes, and then move on to examine the impact of continuous minor stressors, i.e daily hassles.

Life Changes - The social readjustment rating scale (SRRS)

A major way of measuring the relationship between life changes and well being is the the Social Readjustment Rating Scale (SRRS). This scale, developed by Holmes and Rahe in 1967, is also known as the Holmes-Rahe Life Events Rating Scale. Together with some later variations, the SRRS has been the most widely used of all method for assessing life stress.

A study of life changes as a source of stress (Rahe et al. 1970)

Aim: To find out if scores on the Holmes and Rahe Social Readjustment Rating Scale correlated with the subsequent onset of illness.

Procedure: 2500 male American sailors were given the SRRS to asses how many life events they had experienced in the previous six months. The total score on the SRRS was recorded for each participant. Then, over the following six months whilst on tour of duty, detailed recordings were kept of each sailor’s health status. The recorded Life Change Scores were correlated with the sailor’s illness score.

Findings: There was a positive correlation of + 0.118 between Life Change Scores and illness scores. Although the positive correlation was small, it did indicate that there was a meaningful relationship between LCU’s and health. As LCU scores increased, so did the frequency of illness.

Conclusion: The researchers concluded that as LCUs were positively correlated with...
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