Stress: The link between life changes and illness & injury

Stress: The link between life changes and illness & injury

Stress: The link between life changes and illness & injury

The Life Events Inventory as a predictor for injury and illness – The Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale – take the test below

Stress: The link between life changes and illness & injury

It may seem almost blatantly obvious that major life changes contribute to stress but it may not be as obvious that multiple major life changes within one year correlate with a higher risk of injury or illness.

We too often take it for granted that life changes alter a person’s social roles and relationships, such as mar­riage, divorce, job change, serious illness, or the death of a loved one, and thus, they increase a person’s susceptibility to stress, and in turn contribute if not directly cause a host of physical, mental and emotional ailments and illnesses. The ripples of stress will often last for a year or even longer.

In 1967, psychiatrists Thomas Holmes and Richard Rahe examined the medical records of over 5,000 medical patients as a way to determine whether stressful events might cause illnesses. Patients were asked to tally a list of 43 life events based on a relative score. A positive correlation of 0.118 was found between their life events and their illnesses. Their results were published as the Social Readjustment Rating Scale (SRRS) – now known as the Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale. Rahe went on to test the validity of their Stress Scale with a group of 2,500 US sailors as well as other groups of different populations within the United States (with African, Hispanic and White American groups.) All of the results support the links between stress and illness.

Below is the Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale, a list of forty-three stressful events that are believed to contribute to illness. It can also be viewed as a life events inventory. When completing the inventory, check the boxes based on events that occurred within the past twelve months.

You can also take the Stress Test – a powerful way of determining if you have a problem and helping you to identify the symptoms of stress. 

Life Events

Life Crisis Units

Death of spouse

100


Divorce

73


Marital separation

65


Jail term

63


Death of close family member

63


Personal injury or illness

53


Marriage

50


Fired at work

47


Marital reconciliation

45


Retirement

45


Change in health of a family member

44


Pregnancy

40


Sex Difficulties

39


Gain of new family member

39


Business readjustment

39


Change in financial state

38


Death of close friend

37


Change to different line of work

36


Change in number of arguments with

spouse

35


Mortgage over $100,000

31


Foreclosure of mortgage or loan

30


Change in responsibilities at work

29


Son or daughter leaving home

29


Trouble with in-laws

29


Outstanding personal achievement

28


Wife begins or stops work

26


Begin or end school

26


Change in living conditions

25


Revision in personal habits

24


Trouble with boss

23


Change in work hours or conditions

20


Change in residence

20


Change in schools

20


Change in recreation

19


Change in church activities

19


Change in social activities

18


Mortgage or loan less than $30,000

17


Change in sleeping habits

16


Change in number of family get-togethers

15


Change in eating habits

15


Vacation

13


Christmas alone

12


Minor violations of the law

11


Holmes and Rahe found that scores of:

  • 150 – 199 points increase your likelihood of illness by 40%
  • 200 – 299 points increase your likelihood of illness by 50%
  • 300 and above increase your likelihood of illness by 80%

When assessing the full implications of the Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale, it is also important to take into account other factors such as your personality, temperament, how you react to change, the support system you have in place and the meaning of each life change. For example, while a divorce is stressful, it might be preferable to continuing to live in an abusive or unhappy marriage and as such, the divorce could quickly result in a lowering of stress.

Dr. Steve Burns is a graduate of U.C.L.A. Medical School and a practicing physician since 1974. Dr. Burns has identified what he terms as the common ‘weak links’ in the physical body, and the symptoms of their malfunction:

  • Brain OVERSTRESS
    Fatigue, aches and pains, crying spells, depression, anxiety attacks, sleep disturbance
  • Gastrointestinal Tract
    Ulcer, cramps and diarrhea, colitis, irritable bowel
  • Glandular System
    Thyroid gland malfunction
  • Cardiovascular
    High blood pressure, heart attack, abnormal heart beat, stroke
  • Skin
    Itchy skin rashes
  • Immune System
    Decreased resistance to infections and neoplasm

You can also take the Stress Test – a powerful way of determining if you have a problem and helping you to identify the symptoms of stress.

To reduce stress, help restore calm, use my hypnosis audio program, Relax Now  or my hypnosis audio program, Get Over It.

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