Life changes

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  • Created on: 11-01-13 07:34
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Life Changes:
Holmes and Rahe (1967) played a big part in developing the idea that life
changes are linked to stress and illness. Both researcher's were doctors
and found when treating their own patient there was a link between major
life changes and increased illness; the life changes could be both positive
and negative changes. It was the major change in the person's life, which
causes stress, which then caused the illness, not whether it was a good or
bad change.
Social readjustment rating scale (SRRS):
Created by Holmes and Rahe to measure the amount of change/stress
different events have on a persons life
The scale is based on 43 events which were taken from their analysis of
over 5000 patient records
They then asked 400 participants to rate using a numerical value of how
much readjustment each event would be required by the average person
(marriage was set as an arbitrary baseline value of 50)
Events that would take more adjustment than marriage participants
were told to give it a higher score. The scored given by the participants
were averaged to create the Life change units (LCU's) used in the SRRS
Research for life changes:
Rahe (1970):
Decided to use the SRRS to test the Holmes and Rahe hypothesis that the
number of life changes and illness would be positively correlated
A military version of the SRRS was given to 2700 navy soldiers before
going on a tour of duty, they were asked to fill in the SRRS based on the
events they had experienced in the past 6 months
When on tour an illness score was calculated based on how often they
were ill and the severity of the illness
Rahe found a positive correlation between LCU score and illness score of
+1.18, this result supports the hypothesis that the more life events
experienced the more illness suffered
Michael and Ben-Zur (2007):
Studied 130 men and women, 65 were recently divorced the other 65 were
recently widowed
They studied the level of life-satisfaction of each participant
Life satisfaction was higher for widowed people before their loss
unsurprisingly whereas divorced people had higher levels of life
satisfaction after the divorce as stress was reduced
Evaluation of the life changes approach:
-VE ­ SRRS suggests that both positive and negative events can have a
negative effect on health due to the amount of adjustment needed, however
some critics are now suggesting that it's the quality of the event that
affects the readjustment needed. Events that are unscheduled, undesired or
uncontrolled are the most harmful to the person.
-VE ­ Lazarus suggests that life changes are rare in people's lives so it's
the daily hassles, which have the bigger impact on people's health and are
the bigger source of stress.
-VE ­ DeLongis studied 75 married couples, they were given a life changes
questionnaire and a HSUP scale, they found no correlation between life
changes and health problems but found a strong positive correlation
between hassles and next day health problems.

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VE ­ The SRRS ignores the idea that certain people will find situations more
stressful and harder to adjust to than others.
-VE ­ Studies used to test the SRRS produce correlational data this doesn't
tell us about the cause and effect of the result. Brown suggests that people
with high levels of anxiety are more likely to report negative events and
would be more prone to illness.…read more


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