Encyclopedia of Behavioral Medicine

Living Edition
| Editors: Marc Gellman

Life Events

  • Anna C. WhittakerEmail author
Living reference work entry

Latest version View entry history

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-6439-6_468-4


Definition (and Description)

Life events are specific occurrences experienced by an individual that are perceived as stressful, e.g., bereavement, divorce, and moving house. Life events are not always negative events but can be something positive which is perceived as stressful due to the amount of change it brings into the individual’s life, e.g., getting married and changing job.

Life event measures are often used to identify relationships between stress and health within behavioral medicine research. Life events are usually assessed by standardized interview or questionnaire. Such questionnaires ask the individual to indicate which events have happened to them over a specific time period such as 1 year or 1 month. Life events are usually limited to several key domains such as health, marriage, relationships, bereavement, work, housing, and finance. Some life event measures are specific to certain populations or age groups such as the Life...

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References and Further Readings

  1. Brown, G. W., & Harris, T. O. (1989). Social origins of depression: A study of psychiatric disorder in women. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  2. Crandall, C. S., Preisler, J. J., & Aussprung, J. (1992). Measuring life event stress in the lives of college students: The undergraduate stress questionnaire (USQ). Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 15, 627–662.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Linden, W. (1984). Development and initial validation of a life event scale for students. Canadian Counsellor, 18, 106–110.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Sport, Exercise & Rehabilitation SciencesUniversity of BirminghamBirminghamUK