Stress in everyday life

HideShow resource information
  • Created by: Livvi
  • Created on: 04-06-11 22:28

Life changes

Holmes and Rahe-  To test the idea that life changes are connected to physical illness, Holmes and Rahe developed the Social Readjustment Rating Scale (SRRS) based on 43 life events from their analysis of over 5000 patient records. Participants were asked to score each event with how much readjustment would be required. Scores produce life change units (LCUs) for each life event. E.g. Death of a spouse =100 and Christmas=12. A military version of the SRRS was given to over 2700 US Navy Cruisers, and they noted all the life events that they'd experienced over the last 6 months. Then an illness score was calculated on the basis of the number, type and severity of all illnesses recorded  during the 6 months. A positive correlation between LCU score and illness score of +.118 was found.


Research using the SRRS appears to claim that any life-changing event has the potential to damage health. Critics suggest it's events that are unscheduled or undesired that are most harmful.

Lazarus suggests that as major life changes are relatively rare in the lives of most people, it's more the minor daily stressors of that life that causes more stress. De Longis' study on 75 married couples found no correlation between life events and health when they were given a questionnaire on life events and hassles and uplifts.  

The SRRS ignores the fact that life changes will have different effects on different people. For example the death of a spouse could be less stressful on an elderly spouse who had a pain free illness.

Brown suggests that people with high levels of anxiety would be more likely to report negative life events and would also be more prone to illness.

Validity and Reliability

Life changes approach relies on people's memory for events in their life being both accurate and consistent. Retrospective reports might not necessarily be accurate and therefore lack validity.

The reliability of retrospective reports has also been questioned as Rahe found that test-retest reliability varies depending on the time interval between testing. However, most researchers have found acceptable levels of reliability.

Daily Hassles

Delongis measures respondents' attitude toward daily situations. The HSUP provides a way of evaluating both the positive and negative events that occur every day. 

Bouteyre investigated the relationship between daily hassles and the mental health of students during the transition of school to university. First year students completed the hassles part of the HSUP and the Beck Depression Inventory as symptoms of depression. Results showed that 41% of the students studied suffered from depressive symptoms, and there was a positive correlation between scores on the hassles scale and the depressive symptoms.

Gervais asked nurses to keep diaries for a month, recording all their daily hassles and uplifts while at work. They were also asked to rate their own performance over the same period. It was clear that daily hassles were found to increase job strain and decrease job performance. Nurses found that praise from people higher


No comments have yet been made

Similar Psychology resources:

See all Psychology resources »See all Stress resources »