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The Conceptualization and Measurement of Stressful Life Events: An Overview of the Issues

  • Bruce P. Dohrenwend
  • Barbara Snell Dohrenwend

Abstract

Studies of the effects of natural and man-made disasters —especially the disaster of war—have provided the most unequivocal evidence for the proposition that stressful events can produce psychopathology in previously normal personalities (cf. Arthur, 1974; Cooper & Shepherd, 1970; Kinson & Rosser, 1974; Hocking, 1970). For example, when a systematic sample of the population in a rural section of Arkansas was interviewed shortly after the area was hit by a severe tornado, 90 per cent reported “…some form of acute emotional, physiological or psychosomatic after-effect” (Fritz & Marks, 1954, p. 34). Similarly, pervasive effects were implied by Star’s (1949) finding, based on a series of studies during World War II using subscales from the Neuropsychiatric Screening Adjunct, that “…the fear and anxiety implicit in combat brought forth psychosomatic manifestations in so many men that these (symptom scales) served less and less to discriminate between men who were labeled psychiatric casualties and those who were not” (p. 455).

Keywords

Stressful Life Event Physical Illness Psychosomatic Research General Paradigm Extraordinary Event 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1977

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bruce P. Dohrenwend
    • 1
  • Barbara Snell Dohrenwend
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyColumbia UniversityUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyCity College of the City University of New YorkUSA

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