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Life Event Questionnaires for Measuring Presumptive Stress.

Horowitz, Mardi MD; Schaefer, Catherine BA; Hiroto, Donald PhD; Wilner, Nancy BA; Levin, Barbara MSW
Psychosomatic Medicine:
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: Cumulative stress from the impact of life events has become an important variable in psychosomatic and psychological research. This article provides both short and long life events questionnaires that add to incidence information the remoteness or recency in time of a given experience. In the weight assignment system that leads to a single presumptive stress score, events remote in time have less influence than recent events. The reliability of weight assignment was checked in subject groups that differed by sex, age, and status. Women weighted life events as more stressful than did men; other differences in groups were less important. In spite of the sex differential, review of these data suggests use of the same weight assignments for all subgroups rather than differential weighting by sex and age. Reliability was also checked by test and retest methods in contrast to common sense expectation, a disappointingly low level of reliability was found. The implications for investigative use of life events questionnaires are discussed.

Copyright (C) 1977 by American Psychosomatic Society

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