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Top 10 Most Stressful Life Events

Top 10 most stressful life events

So what are the top ten most stressful life events on the Holmes and Rahe scale, and how are they used to predict the likelihood of illness?

Each event is assigned a “Life Change Unit” score. These are then added together over a year and used to predict your risk of illness. For adults, the top ten most stressful life events and their “Life Change Unit” scores are as follows:

  1. Death of a spouse (or child*): 100
  2. Divorce: 73
  3. Marital separation: 65
  4. Imprisonment: 63
  5. Death of a close family member: 63
  6. Personal injury or illness: 53
  7. Marriage: 50
  8. Dismissal from work: 47
  9. Marital reconciliation: 45
  10. Retirement: 45

*Note: Death of a child was not originally defined in the original Holmes and Rahe scale, but due to its catastrophic effects on an individual, we have since added it to our list on Pain Doctor. 

To calculate your stress levels, add up each number for an event that has happened in the past year or is expected to happen in the future. If the event is expected to occur more than once, add those additional instances into your total. According to their scale, you have an:

  • 80% likelihood of illness for scores over 300
  • 50% likelihood of illness for scores between 150-299
  • 30% likelihood of illness for scores less than 150

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