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Discuss the effects of life changes on stress
Life changes are something we all come across, minor or major. Whether it’s a change in school or death of a family member they happen to all of us. These cause levels of stress, sometimes very high amounts which can lead to negative stress relief such as smoking, alcoholism or promiscuity.
Holmes and Rahe in 1967 thought that both positive and negative life events involve change. They thought that it was this change that led to stress.
They put together a list of 43 questions and asked many people to answer these questions, scoring them according to how stressful they felt they were. They called the numbers LCUs (Life Change Units). The higher the score, the higher the levels of stress. They ranked the events from most stressful to least stressful and called it the Social Readjustment Rating Scale (SRRS).
In 1970, after a few years work based on this, they put together a study of LCU score and illness.
They gave over 2500 American Navy seamen the SRRS form to fill in, just before they went out on military duty. They were asked to indicate all of the events that they had experienced over the previous six months.
Their results show that higher LCU scores were found to be linked to a higher incidence of illness over the next seven months. This means that stress involved in life changes bring is linked to an increased change of illness. So in other words, life changes cause stress, which creates a higher risk of illness.
Although critics say that the SRRS does not separate positive and negative life events. That a wedding may produce stress but be positive overall, while the death of a relative will almost definitely produce negative stress. Also, as Holmes and Rahe’s study was just on American Navy seamen, it isn’t representative of the entire population, or even just the American population. The correlation may also be affected by a third variable.