Research culminating in the publication of the Social Readjustment Rating Scale (Holmes & Rahe, 1967) showed that those people who had the greatest amount of change occurring in their lives (largest number of life change units) were at greatest risk for illness. Moreover, patients with the highest life-change unit scores, when they became ill, were more likely to have serious chronic illnesses (e.g., cancer, heart failure, manic-depressive psychosis, etc.), whereas those patients with lower scores were more likely to have minor illnesses, and they were more likely to be acute (Wyler et.al., 1971).
However, while these conclusions apply statistically when thousands of people are considered, it is also clear that some people have many events, lots of change, occurring in their lives and do not become ill. Obviously, it is not what happens that is important. It is how we perceive and cope with the change, how we react that is important.
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