Monday, September 15, 2008

Stress Scores: Life Events

Life events that occur in our lives such as death of a loved one, pregnancy or divorce can lead to an increase in stress, which if left unresolved, could develop into a serious health risk.

Different crises in our lives can result in different impacts. However, in many cases it is possible to anticipate these events and even prepare for them.

The SRRS (Social Readjustment Rating Scale) was created by Dr. Thomas H. Holmes and Dr. Richard H. Rahe. Based on their well known study in 1967 into the effects of life events and the subsequent follow-up studies, the two doctors came up with a chart that lists a total of 43 events that can cause stress. Each of the events are ranked in order of their LCU (Life Change Unit), starting with the most high risk changes down to the lower risk ones.

Although there are many other factors in life that can lead to stress, Holmes and Rahe decided to concentrate on just these common key events. Their theory suggests that any stressful events could be linked with higher chances of illness developing.

While this approach is obviously a simplification of complex situations, using the SRRS can provide you with a useful start in adjusting to life-changing events.

The test works by adding up the LCU points of the events that have happened to you in the last 12 months – this will give you your LCU score.
An LCU score less than 150 = a 35% chance of developing an illness within the next two years.
An LCU score between 150-300 = a 51% chance.
An LCU score over 300 = 80% chance of illness developing, which could become a very serious health risk.
Social Readjustment Rating Scale

Life Event__________________________________LCU
Death of spouse______________________________100
Marital Separation_____________________________65
Prison Term_________________________________63
Death of a close family member____________________63
Personal injury or illness_________________________53
Being Fired from work___________________________47
Reconciliation with spouse________________________45
Change in health of family member__________________44
Sexual difficulties______________________________39
Addition of family member_______________________39
Major business readjustment_____________________39
Major changes in financial state____________________38
Death of a close friend__________________________37
Changing to a different line of work_________________36
Changes in frequency of arguments with spouse________35
Mortgage or loan over £10,000 (?)_________________31
Foreclosure on a mortgage or loan__________________30
Major change in responsibilities at work _____________ 29
Children leaving home__________________________29
Trouble with in-laws___________________________29
Outstanding personal achievement _________________28
Spouse begins or stops work ______________________26
Starting or ending school ________________________26
Revision of personal habits (dress, manners, associations)__24
Trouble with boss _____________________________23
Change in work hours, conditions __________________20
Change in residence____________________________20
Changes in school _____________________________20
Changes in recreational activities __________________19
Changes in church activities______________________19
Changes in social activities _______________________18
Mortgage or loan under £10,000 (?)________________17
Changes in sleeping habits_______________________16
Changes in number of family gatherings _____________15
Changes in eating habits________________________15
Going on holiday _____________________________13
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