Life Events and Psychological Distress: Some Problems in Design and Analysis

  • David J. Cooke


The hypothesis that stressful life events may engender psychological disturbance currently receives considerable attention and considerable uncritical support. Cooper and Shepherd (1972), in their historical review, suggested that this has not always been the case; the extent to which psychological distress has been attributed to the experience of stressful life events has varied throughout history. They indicated that during the great plagues of the middle ages contemporary social historians perceived a link between the concomitant stress and strife and the occurrence of “great madness”. Given this early perception, it is curious that during the first world war, the link between the stress of combat and the acute neurotic breakdowns of aircraft pilots, was not generally perceived. Indeed these neurotic reactions were attributed to noise, cold, oxygen lack and lack of moral fibre.


Psychological Distress Stressful Life Stressful Life Event Truth Table Psychological Disturbance 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • David J. Cooke
    • 1
  1. 1.Psychology DepartmentGartnavel Royal HospitalGlasgowScotland

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