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Int J Behav Med. 2005;12(3):199-205.

Some problems with life event lists and health outcomes.

Author information

1
School of Population Health, University of Queensland, Australia. a.dobson@sph.uq.edu.au

Abstract

Lists of life events are widely used in health outcomes research. As part of a large cohort study of women's health in Australia, age- and gender-specific life events lists were developed and administered to women in different age groups over time. In this article, we provide empirical evidence that recall of life events is subject to telescoping (i.e., remote events are reported to have occurred more recently) and to mood (women with lower mental health scores report more life events, especially perceived rather than factual events). Nevertheless, even after adjustment for confounders, there is a clear association between poorer physical health and more life events. Therefore, these results demonstrate a continuing need for lists of life events in health research but also highlight the methodological challenges in using them.

PMID:
16083323
DOI:
10.1207/s15327558ijbm1203_9
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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