sources of stress: life changes

notes on life changes and evaluation and also notes on the rahe study into life changes and its evaulation

life changes

  • life changes are big events in our lives that involve change. they can be positive or negative
  • examples: starting a new job, moving hiuse, going on holiday, getting divorced
  • all life changes are thought to be stressful as they involve change. according to Richard Rahe, adjusting to change involves using more 'psychic energy' and the less we have the more likely we are to become ill

evaluation of life changes

  • the score given on each life change is subjective. some may get more stressed by some life changes than others. this means that its hard to predict the precise effects of life changes
  • other research has shown daily hassles are more damaging to your health.
  • research is correlational. this means that we can't be sure that life changes are the cause of illness
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  • studied 2700 american sailors
  • asked them to complete a 'social, readjustment, rating scale' (RSSI) questionnaire about events in past 6 months
  • also asked to say how many times they have been ill wihtin the past 7 months
  • found a positive correlation (0.118) between the score on the questionnaire and the number of times they had been ill
  • this shows that the more change that happens in your life, the more likely you are to become ill


  • not everyone agrees that life changes are bad. individuals who get divorced have a higher rate of satisfaction after the divorce, so some changes are positive.
  • low population validity- as only American sailors were studied. this means that othe people from different countries or professions may react differently to life changes
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