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Am J Epidemiol. 1980 Jun;111(6):736-52.

Epidemiology of life events: frequency in general populations.


The objective was to provide additional background information for a refinement of life events methodolgy. Data about life events for a one year period were gathered from a representative sample of the population in Kansas City, Missouri, and Washington County, Maryland, between 1971-1974. Using binary variable multiple regression, the relationships between individual events, overall scores and demographic variables were examined for 2780 subjects. Age, education, marital status, location and race were shown to be significantly related to scores of one or more on the life events scale. Individual items were also related to these and other demographic variables. Fifteen individual events were shown to be moderately related to one another, so that when one event occurred the other was likely to occur also. Because different subgroups of the population experience different frequencies of total life events and of particular individual events, life events scores can vary considerably from group to group, depending on demographic composition and the appropriateness of the life events list for each demographic subgroup. Such relationships, if not adjusted for, could lead to coincidental associations between life events and health-related outcomes.

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