This Holmes and Rahe stress scale calculator evaluates whether the perceived stressful life events can affect your health in the following years. Discover more about this social readjustment rating scale and its interpretation below the form.


Please select the life events that have occurred in the past year:


Please select the life events that have occurred in the past year:

How does this Holmes and Rahe stress scale calculator work?

This health tool tries to explain the effects of stress on the immune system from a general point of view and can raise alarm signs whenever subjects are not responding to stress as they should in order to maintain their health.

The Social Readjustment Rating Scale (SRRS) has been developed in 1967 by psychiatrists Thomas Holmes and Richard Rahe as the method for assessing life stressors in the study patients.

The original 43 item life stress inventory aims to determine whether stressful life events carry causality in illnesses.

The subject is asked to choose the events that have happened in their lives during the previous year. The first tab is designated for adult use while the second tab is for non adults. The criteria and the means of evaluation are similar in both tabs but have been adapted to correspond to the age groups in question.

The adult stress level scale, the original Social readjustment rating scale in the Holmes and Rahe stress scale calculator:

Stressor LCU Stressor LCU
1. Death of a spouse 100 23. Child leaving home 29
2. Divorce 73 24. Trouble with in-laws 29
3. Marital separation 65 25. Outstanding personal achievement 28
4. Imprisonment 63 26. Spouse starts or stops work 26
5. Death of a close family member 63 27. Beginning or end school 26
6. Personal injury or illness 53 28. Change in living conditions 25
7. Marriage 50 29. Revision of personal habits 24
8. Dismissal from work 47 30. Trouble with boss 23
9. Marital reconciliation 45 31. Change in working hours or conditions 20
10. Retirement 45 32. Change in residence 20
11. Change in health of family member 44 33. Change in schools 20
12. Pregnancy 40 34. Change in recreation 19
13. Sexual difficulties 39 35. Change in church activities 19
14. Gain a new family member 39 36. Change in social activities 18
15. Business readjustment 39 37. Minor mortgage or loan 17
16. Change in financial state 38 38. Change in sleeping habits 16
17. Death of a close friend 37 39. Change in number of family reunions 15
18. Change to different line of work 36 40. Change in eating habits 15
19. Change in frequency of arguments 35 41. Vacation 13
20. Major mortgage 32 42. Major Holiday 12
21. Foreclosure of mortgage or loan 30 43. Minor violation of law 11
22. Change in responsibilities at work 29  

The non-adult modified version of the stressful life events scale and the weight of each item:

Stressor LCU Stressor LCU
1. Death of parent 100 21. Breaking up with boyfriend or girlfriend 53
2. Unplanned pregnancy/abortion 100 22. Beginning to date 51
3. Getting married 95 23. Suspension from school 50
4. Divorce of parents 90 24. Becoming involved with drugs or alcohol 50
5. Acquiring a visible deformity 80 25. Birth of a brother or sister 50
6. Fathering a child 70 26. Increase in arguments between parents 47
7. Jail sentence of parent for over one year 70 27. Loss of job by parent 46
8. Marital separation of parents 69 28. Outstanding personal achievement 46
9. Death of a brother or sister 68 29. Change in parent's financial status 45
10. Change in acceptance by peers 67 30. Accepted at college of choice 43
11. Unplanned pregnancy of sister 64 31. Being a senior in high school 42
12. Discovery of being an adopted child 63 32. Hospitalization of a sibling 41
13. Marriage of parent to stepparent 63 33. Increased absence of parent from home 38
14. Death of a close friend 63 34. Brother or sister leaving home 37
15. Having a visible congenital deformity 62 35. Addition of third adult to family 34
16. Serious illness requiring hospitalization 58 36. Becoming a full fledged member of a church 31
17. Failure of a grade in school 56 37. Decrease in arguments between parents 27
18. Not making an extracurricular activity 55 38. Decrease in arguments with parents 26
19. Hospitalization of a parent 55 39. Mother or father beginning work 26
20. Jail sentence of parent for over 30 days 53  

The study collected the answers of a considerable number of subjects which then had their health parameters monitored during the following six months.

As a result of the study, a positive correlation of 0.118 was found between the patient’s reported life events and the presentation illnesses.

Subsequent validation tried to correlate the scores in the scale with subsequent onset of illness and although life stressors are not the main cause to health problems, there is significant causality involved, meaning that it cannot be concluded that stress causes illnesses but there is a correlation in the processes.

To this day the scale has been used in different populations in the American continents and was also tested cross-culturally, although the result was not favorable, due to the scale not accounting for cultural differences.

Every individual has a different ability to cope with life stressors, from major lifetime events to minor every day stressful situations. However, this ability to manage stress and psychological adjust to life seems to have an influence on health overall.

Score interpretation

Each of the items in the scale carries a number of Life Change Units, a relative value awarded in the first stages of the original study in order to quantify the said stressors and obtain the overall interpretable score.

The LCU values were added in the early phases of research when 394 subjects were shown the 43 item scale and told that marriage, as an item is given 500 points on the imaginary stress scale. The subjects were then asked to individually assign points over 500 to life stressors higher than marriage and points below 500 to life events that they perceive to be less stressful than marriage.

The average values of the points awarded were then used in the LCU of the SRRS. There are three categories of results, divided by the severity of risk for major health breakdown in the following 24 months after the stress assessment.

Scores equal to or above 300 are considered high risk with 80% chances.

Scores between 150 and 299 are moderate risk with 50% chances.

Scores below 150 are considered low risk.

SRSS criticism

The main criticism received by this stress scale was that it doesn’t account for inherent variation, meaning that each individual perceives certain life events more stressing than others. And although the scale was built on subject evaluation, there should be an extent to which the LCUs awarded can vary depending on individual preference.

The scale does involve both positive and negative life chances and doesn’t make a provision to difference these, although both types can be considered stressors.

At the same time, it appears that the research conducted was focused on male response, therefore some critics say is it not entirely specific or adapted for female use.

Being a self report assessment, some patient answers might not be reliable enough, whether the patient doesn’t recall certain events or doesn’t accurately acknowledge the stressor effects of others.

Another point of view if that the criteria in the scale are outdated and that it should be updated to cover the current stressors in nowadays modern society.


1) Holmes TH, Rahe RH. (1967) The Social Readjustment Rating Scale. J Psychosom Res; 11(2):213-8.

2) Rahe RH, Arthur RJ. (1978) Life change and illness studies: past history and future directions. J Human Stress; 4(1):3-15.

3) Rahe RH, Mahan JL Jr, Arthur RJ. (1970) Prediction of near-future health change from subjects' preceding life changes. J Psychosom Res; 14(4):401-6.

4) Rahe RH, Biersner RJ, Ryman DH, Arthur RJ. (1972) Psychosocial predictors of illness behavior and failure in stressful training. J Health Soc Behav; 13(4):393-7.

10 Feb, 2016 | 0 comments

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