They wanted to find out whether a life event effects the health of patients in hospitals as they noticed that many patients, in particular those with heart disease, reported significant life events in the proceeding year.
They introduced the concept of a life event as a change in life circumstances requiring a degree of adjustment on the part of the individual.
To rate the impact of different events they asked 394 people to compare 43 life events with marriage in terms of the degree of adjustment necessary. Marriage was given an arbiturary value of 500 and other events were scored higher or lower.
For the final scale scores were divided by 100 and referred to as Life Change Units (LCUs), and the whole scale called the Social Readjustment Rating Scale (SRRS).
Life Event Stress Value
- Death of a Spouse 100
- Divorce 73
- Jail Term 63
- Personal Injury or illness 53
- Marriage 50
- Fired at work 47
- Retirement 45
- Pregnancy 40
- Beginning or ending school 26
- Vacation 13
- Christmas 12
The main issue with this study is that it was carried out in the US and so the events and how they were rated have been culturally specific. In addition there was no objective assessment of the degree of adjustment necessary; they relied on participants' opinions.