Outline and Evaluate Research into Life Changes as a Source of Stress

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Outline and Evaluate Research into Life Changes as a Source of Stress

Stress is the response that occurs when we think the demands of a stressor being placed on us are greater than our perceived ability to cope. Stress, if left unresolved, could lead to serious health problems. People believe that life changes are linked to stress. Life changes are major events that occur in an individual’s lifetime such as death of a loved one, pregnancy, divorce or getting fired. Stress can also be a result of something that doesn’t happen, for example, not being promoted, not getting into university you wanted or not getting married.

 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 in particular patients with heart disease. Life changes were both positive and negative events. Rahe and Holmes introduced life changes as change in life circumstances requiring a degree of adjustment in the part of the individual. They developed questionnaire called Social Readjustment Rating Scale (SRRS) to identify major stressful life events. They asked 394 people to compare 43 life events .In order to know how stressful each was they asked them to score in terms of how much adjustment was needed From the average scores the life events were awarded a Life Change Unit depending on how stressful it was felt to. Each of the events were ranked in order of their LCU (Life Change Unit), starting with the most high stress changes down to the lower stress ones. 

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They found that death of a spouse was most stressful as it was rated as the event which required most adjustment and divorce came second.

The patients were asked about previous years life events making it retrospective this could make results unreliable because some patients could forget some details. This study was carried out in the US so the results and how they were rated would be culturally specific. This scale also doesn’t take into account individual differences some people will find the same sort of event less stressful than others for example, divorce could be perceived as a disaster ...

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