How Much Stress Are You Carrying Around?

Atlas

“I’m stressed!”  Everyone thinks that, right?

On Monday, my dad and I were talking about stress.  He said that there’s actually a top 5 of stressful situations.

  1. Death
  2. Divorce
  3. Moving
  4. Major Illness
  5. Job Loss

Turns out a couple of psychiatrists named Thomas Holmes and Richard Rahe conducted a study on 5,000 medical patients to determine whether stressful events caused illness.

They were asked to rate 43 life situations based on a relative score. Apparently, you’re supposed to add up your score to determine your risk of getting an illness. It’s like golf, the lower the score, the better.

I’m not sure how much faith to place on this type of test.  It seems the correlation between stress and illness was 0.118.  This doesn’t seem very high.  But I’m also not trained in psychology or psychiatry so I’m not qualified to make recommendations or assess how useful this test is.

According to the Holmes-Rahe Life Stress Inventory, if you have

  • 150 points or less – then you have relatively low amount of life change and a low susceptibility to stress-induced health breakdown.
  • 150 – 300 points – implies about a 50% chance of a major health breakdown in the next 2 years
  • > 300 points – raises the odds to about 80% of a major health breakdown in the next 2 years

Below are the stress situations and the relative score.

  1. Death of a spouse – 100
  2. Divorce – 73
  3. Marital separation from partner- 65
  4. Detention in jail or other institution – 63
  5. Death of a close family member – 63
  6. Major personal injury or illness – 53
  7. Marriage – 50
  8. Being fired at work – 47
  9. Marital reconciliation with partner – 45
  10. Retirement from work – 45
  11. Major change in the health or behavior of a family member – 44
  12. Pregnancy – 40
  13. Sexual difficulties – 39
  14. Gaining a new family member (birth, adoption, older adult moving in) – 39
  15. Major business readjustment – 39
  16. Major change in financial state (a lot worse or much better off) – 38
  17. Death of a close friend – 37
  18. Changing to a different line of work – 36
  19. Major change in the number of arguments with spouse (either a lot more or a lot less typically regarding child rearing, personal habits, etc.) – 35
  20. Taking on a mortgage – 31
  21. Foreclosure on a mortgage or a loan – 30
  22. Major change in job responsibilities (demotion or promotion) – 29
  23. Son or daughter leaving the home (marriage, joining the military, going off to college) – 29
  24. In-law troubles – 29
  25. Outstanding personal achievement – 28
  26. Spouse beginning or ceasing work outside the home – 26
  27. Beginning or ceasing formal schooling – 26
  28. Major change in living condition – 25
  29. Revision of personal habits (dress manners, associations, quitting, smoking) – 24
  30. Troubles with the boss – 23
  31. Major changes in working hours or conditions – 20
  32. Changes in residence – 20
  33. Changing to a new school – 20
  34. Major change in the usual type and/or amount of recreation – 19
  35. Major change in church activity – 19
  36. Major change in social activities – 18
  37. Taking on a loan – 17
  38. Major change in sleeping habits – 16
  39. Major change in family get togethers – 15
  40. Major change in eating habits – 15
  41. Vacation – 13
  42. Major holidays – 12
  43. Minor violations in the law – 11
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