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Let's Take a 2003-Look at Our Stressors

By Susan Dunn, MA Clinical Psychology, The EQ CoachT

The year was 1967 and the car to own was the Corvette, which came in - are you ready for this? -- Marlboro Maroon ad Ermine White. Quč politically incorrect!

Ernest "Che" Guevara had been found shot dead in the Bolivian jungle, the breathalyzer was introduced in Britian, Muhammad Ali was stripped of his world titles after refusing to join the armed forces, Elvis Presley married Priscilla Beaulieu, the QEII was launched, Dr. Christian Barnard performed the first heart transplant, and ...

... the top 5 stressors in life were: Death of a Spouse, Divorce, Marital Separation, Imprisonment, and Death of a Close Family Member.

Researchers Holmes & Rahe rated stressors (life events) in terms of Life Change Units and the list, though still around, seems as "outdated" as 1967 was long ago.

What would you say if someone asked you what today's biggest stressors were? Here are some things I would put on the list, and not a one of them appeared in the 1967 list.

Having been a young adult in 1967, I've had the feeling that things are more stressful today than they were back then. Sure enough, Holmes & Rahe say that life is 40% more stressful these days.

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There are various reasons why these things didn't appear on the list. Some were not talked about (coming out); and others, being marginalized, didn't 'count,' (homeless); lawsuits were not as prevalent; only the elite were in the stock market; credit cards weren't that common; travel was still a luxury, so not crowded; but why on earth weren't the draft or military service mentioned on a 1967 list. It was Vietnam!

FYI, here is the Stress Scale for Adults as published in 1967 . quieter times.