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Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale


Based on research by psychiatrists Thomas Holmes and Richard Rahe in 1967, this index scale examines the link between stress and illness.

The body is a finely tuned instrument that does not like surprises. Any sudden change in stimuli which affects the body, or the reordering of important routines that the body becomes used to, can cause needless stress, throwing your whole physical being into turmoil.

The higher your score, the more susceptible you are to developing stress-related illnesses. It’s crucial that, during intense times of change, that you take tangible steps to manage your stress.

Holmes-Rahe Life Stress Inventory

In the past 12 months, which of the following major life events have taken place in your life?  Make a check mark next to each event that you have experienced.  When you are done, add up the points for each event.  Calculate your score at the end.

Event                                                                    Stress Scores

__ 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 from work                                                                  47

__ Marital reconciliation                                                        45

__ Retirement                                                                           45

__ Change in family member’s health                                 44

__ Pregnancy                                                                          40

__ Sex difficulties                                                                   39

__ Addition to family                                                            39

__ Business readjustment                                                   39

__ Change in financial status                                             38

__ Death of close friend                                                       37

__ Change to a different line of work                                36

__ Change in number of marital arguments                    35

__ Mortgage or loan over $10,000                                     31

__ Foreclosure of mortgage or loan                                    30

__ Change in work responsibilities                                     29

__ Trouble with in-laws                                                        29

__ Outstanding personal achievement                              28

__ Spouse begins or stops work                                          26

__ Starting or finishing school                                            26

__ Change in living conditions                                            25

__ Revision of personal habits                                            24

__ Trouble with boss                                                             23

__ Change in work hours, conditions                                20

__ Change in residence                                                         20

__ Change in recreational habits                                        19

__ Change in church activities                                            19

__ Change in social activities                                              18

__ Mortgage or loan under $10,000                                 17

__ Change in sleeping habits                                              16

__ Change in number of family gatherings                      15

__ Change in eating habits                                                  15

__ Vacation                                                                            13

__ Christmas season                                                            12

__ Minor violation of the law                                             11


CALCULATE                                         Your total score: ___________


This scale shows the kind of life pressure that you are facing. Depending on your coping skills or the lack thereof, this scale can predict the likelihood that you will fall victim to a stress-related illness. The illness could range from mild problems like frequent tension headaches, acid indigestion, loss of sleep to more serious problems like ulcers, migraines, hypertension, etc.

Scoring Key According to the Holmes Rahe Life Stress Inventory:

150 total points or lower represents a relatively low amount of life change and a low susceptibility to stress-induced health break down.

150-300 total points represents a moderate amount of life change and a moderate susceptibility to stress-induced health break down. It implies about a 50% chance of a major health breakdown in the next 2 years.

300 total points or more represents a relatively high amount of life change and a high susceptibility to stress-induced health break down. It implies about an 80% chance of a major health breakdown in the next 2 years.


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