Stress Index

I first learned about the Stress Index in my undergraduate studies. The Holmes Rahe Stress Scale gives a numeric value to many key life stressors, positive or negative. The study was conducted to determine whether the individual was at risk for developing illness based on their level of stress. In general a score above 300 indicates a high level of stress and may require intervention to avoid serious illness. The individual can then determine if some of their stressors can be eliminated?

We have a family friend who recently lost her husband after a long battle with cancer. She had other Life Events that added to her stress risk: A son leaving for college, Christmas the week after the funeral, a new home because of her reduced income. She also went back to college to improve her employment prospects, she began working part time, and she had insomnia (most likely a result of her grief). Her score on the scale is 329. She needed some support to help her maintain her health.

We just included the scale as an informative section for those who are grieving. If you can avoid adding additional stresses while mourning a loved one, you protect your health, which might help you cope better with your loss.

Stress index – Holmes and Rahe stress scale

Life Event (Life Change Units)

  • Death of a spouse (100)
  • Divorce (73)
  • Marital Separation (65)
  • Imprisonment (63)
  • Death of 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)
  • 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)
  • Beginning 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 violation of law (11)