Holmes and Rahe (1967) – Self-report

Holmes, Thomas H., and Richard H. Rahe. “The social readjustment rating scale.” Journal of psychosomatic research 11.2 (1967): 213-218.



This is the second study we will be looking at from the ‘measuring stress’ section of ‘Stress’, as part of your OCR A2 Health and Clinical Psychology course. It is further categorised into ‘Self-report


As you will have learned from the Psychological Investigations unit of your AS psychology exam, self-reports can include interviews, diary-entries and questionnaires.


Holmes and Rahe (1967) – used a self report measure with their Social Readjustment Rating Scale (SRRS) which looked at the events which had occurred in a persons life and rates their impact.

The readjustment needed to cope with such an event causes stress so it follows that the more life events you experience, the more readjustments you have to make so the more stressed you are.


To create a method that estimates the extent to which life events are stressors.

Method and Design

Self-report using a questionnaire designed to ascertain how much each life event was considered a stressor.


394 participants.


Each participant was asked to rate a series of 43 life events. 

Marriage was given an arbitrary rating of 500 and each event was to be judged as requiring more or less readjustment. 

It could be based on personal experience and perceptions of other people.

The final Social Readjustment Rating Scale was completed based on the mean scores.


Correlations between groups were tested and found to be high in all but one group. 

Males and females agreed and participants of different ages, religions, educational level agreed.

There was a weaker correlation between white and black participants.


The degree of similarity between different groups is impressive and shows agreement in general about what constitutes life events and how much they cause stress (or readjustment).

Holmes and Rahe (1967) Evaluation

– Self reports may be low in validity due to participants lying.

+ Large sample – as the sample was large we can say that the reliability is high.

+ The use of scales allow for the collection of quantitative data allows for statistical analysis, which means the data is easy to compare and find patterns.


Holmes, Thomas H., and Richard H. Rahe. “The social readjustment rating scale.” Journal of psychosomatic research 11.2 (1967): 213-218.

Further Reading

OCR A2 Psychology Student Unit Guide New Edition: Unit G543 Health and Clinical Psychology (Student Unit Guides)

Psych Yogi’s Top Ten Psychology Revision Tips for the A* Student

Article Name
Holmes and Rahe (1967) - Self-report
revise 'measuring stress' section of 'Stress', part of your OCR A2 Health and Clinical Psychology course. It is further categorised into 'Self-report' revision

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