Inventorying stressful life events as risk factors for psychopathology: Toward resolution of the problem of intracategory variability.

Department of Psychiatry and Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, New York, NY 10032, USA.
Psychological Bulletin (Impact Factor: 14.76). 06/2006; 132(3):477-95. DOI: 10.1037/0033-2909.132.3.477
Source: PubMed


An explosion of research on life events has occurred since the publication of the Holmes and Rahe checklist in 1967. Despite criticism, especially of their use in research on psychopathology, such economical inventories have remained dominant. Most of the problems of reliability and validity with traditional inventories can be traced to the intracategory variability of actual events reported in their broad checklist categories. The purposes of this review are, first, to examine how this problem has been addressed within the tradition of economical checklist approaches; second, to determine how it has been dealt with by far less widely used and far less economical labor-intensive interview and narrative-rating approaches; and, third, to assess the prospects for relatively economical, as well as reliable and valid, solutions.

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    • "Nonetheless, published research into childhood and adolescent stress exposure has predominantly utilized self-report checklists or questionnaires (Grant et al., 2004). Resistance to using interviews has mainly revolved around the considerable time and resources required to administer these forms of assessment (Dohrenwend, 2006). Thus, interview-based measures have often been considered unfeasible for large-scale epidemiological studies. "
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    ABSTRACT: This paper presents multilevel findings on adolescents' victimization exposure from a large longitudinal cohort of twins. Data were obtained from the Environmental Risk (E-Risk) Longitudinal Twin Study, an epidemiological study of 2,232 children (1,116 twin pairs) followed to 18 years of age (with 93% retention). To assess adolescent victimization, we combined best practices in survey research on victimization with optimal approaches to measuring life stress and traumatic experiences, and introduce a reliable system for coding severity of victimization. One in three children experienced at least one type of severe victimization during adolescence (crime victimization, peer/sibling victimization, Internet/mobile phone victimization, sexual victimization, family violence, maltreatment, or neglect), and most types of victimization were more prevalent among children from low socioeconomic backgrounds. Exposure to multiple victimization types was common, as was revictimization; over half of those physically maltreated in childhood were also exposed to severe physical violence in adolescence. Biometric twin analyses revealed that environmental factors had the greatest influence on most types of victimization, while severe physical maltreatment from caregivers during adolescence was predominantly influenced by heritable factors. The findings from this study showcase how distinct levels of victimization measurement can be harmonized in large-scale studies of health and development.
    Development and Psychopathology 11/2015; 27(4pt2):1399-1416. DOI:10.1017/S0954579415000838 · 4.89 Impact Factor
    • "Research into life events and health has spanned over five decades; initially, it was assumed that it was the degree of change represented by a life event which was associated with stress, now it is believed that it is only specific types of life events, i.e. those which are adverse or negative, which are potentially damaging. SLEs have been defined as any event that occurs throughout the life course and causes significant disruption or requires readjustment to an individual's daily life and/or their usual routines (Dohrenwend, 2006; Tamers et al., 2014; Turner & Wheaton, 1997). Most SLEs can be defined as either desirable or undesirable, with those being classified as undesirable (such as bereavement, unemployment, redundancy and victimisation) generally having negative implications for the individual; and those as desirable (such as securing a new job contract, receiving a promotion at work or getting married) promoting a range of positive emotions (Holmes & Rahe, 1967; Tamers et al., 2014). "
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    Housing Studies 10/2015; DOI:10.1080/02673037.2015.1094565 · 0.66 Impact Factor
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    • "provide the category of ' socioeconomic problems ' vs . listing ' did not have enough money for basics , ' ' had to move out of my home ' ; see Dohrenwend , 2006 ) . For this study , we included a write - in response option to better characterize the profile of stressors experienced by a high - risk group . "
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