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date: 22 January 2019

Abstract and Keywords

The purpose of the present chapter is to provide an overview of key issues involving the definition and assessment of major life events for researchers interested in the effects of life stress on a wide range of disorders. General conceptual and definitional issues are addressed initially, and a conceptual heuristic is proposed for guiding inquiry on major life stress and human disorder. This heuristic is drawn upon to develop principled practices for assessing, operationalizing, and finally quantifying major life events. Throughout the chapter, contemporary approaches for research on major life events are evaluated, their relative merits and shortcomings discussed, and their psychometric credentials formally compared. In closing, we consider future directions for research on major life events and their implications for health and disease.

Keywords: life stress, stressful life events, assessment, human disorder, health, disease

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