Holmes & Rahe Scale


A person's response to the stress of physical illness varies tremendously and in large part depends on his or her own personality style and social supports. It is known, for example, that certain diseases such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, peptic ulcer disease, or cardiac disease can worsen with mental stress. It is not clear or proven that stress causes diseases, but it is clear that these and probably many other illnesses are aggravated by stress. In 1967, psychiatrists Thomas Holmes and Richard Rahe found a positive correlation between a person’s life event and their illnesses. Their results are commonly known as the Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale.

Download a printable copy of the
Adult Stress Scale Poster


This reference correlates to the online continuing education course Stress 101.
 


LIFE EVENT LIFE CHANGE UNITS SCORE
Death of a Spouse 100  
Divorce 73  
Marital separation 65  
Imprisonment 63  
Death of a close family member 63  
Personal injury or illness 53  
Marriage 50  
Dismissal from work 47  
Marital Reconciliation 45  
Retirement 45  
Change in health of family member 44  
Pregnancy 40  
Sexual difficulties 39  
Gain a new family member 39  
Business readjustment 39  
Change in financial state 38  
Death of a close friend 37  
Change to different line of work 36  
Change in frequency of arguments 35  
Major mortgage 32  
Foreclosure of mortgage or loan 30  
Change in responsibilities at work 29  
Child leaving home 29  
Trouble with in-laws 29  
Outstanding personal achievement 28  
Spouse starts or stops work 26  
Begin or end school 26  
Change in living conditions 25  
Revision of personal habits 24  
Trouble with boss 23  
Change in working hours or conditions 20  
Change in residence 20  
Change in schools 20  
Change in recreation 19  
Change in church activities 19  
Change in social activities 18  
Minor mortgage or loan 17  
Change in sleeping habits 16  
Change in number of family reunions 15  
Change in eating habits 15  
Vacation 13  
Christmas 12  
Minor Viloation of law 11  

Score of 300+: At risk of illness.
Score of 150-299+: Risk of illness is moderate (reduced by 30% from the above risk).
Score of 150 or below: Only have a slight risk of illness.
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