Consider Psychological Research Into the Role of Life Events as a Source of Stress. (12marks)

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Life changes are major life events including marriage, death of a partner, redundancy, moving houses etc. According to Holmes and Rahe (1967) events can be rated in terms of life change units and can lead to stress-related illness. Stress is a normal and expected part of life. We are constantly facing challenges and demands, some of which we can cope with easily and others that are more stressful. Holmes and Rahe notices that many patients, in particular those with heart disease, reported significant life events in the preceding 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. Death of a spouse was rated as the event that requires the most adjustment, and is therefore the most stressful with divorce and marital separation following but a long way behind. At the bottom was holidays and Christmas. There were many methodological issues during some studies of Holmes and Rahe. (Holmes and Masuda, 1974; Rahe and Lind, 1971). For example they were retrospective. This means that people already undergoing treatment for heart disease and other stress-related illnesses were asked to remember life events from the previous year. This may affect the results as some people may have a shorter memory and may not be able to remember life events during the past properly. During Holmes and Rahe’s study (1967) there was another methodological issue. The study was carried our in the US so the events and how they were rated would have been culturally specific. In addition there was no objective assessment of the degree of adjustment necessary; they relied on participants’ opinions. Rahe et al (1970) investigated the link between LCUs
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