October 5th, 2011
Take a group of 25 children and adolescents, of both sexes, ranging in age from 3 to 17. All of these 25 children have cancer. How do you set about investigating whether and to what extent stress might have caused or contributed to the particular illness of these children?
In a paper published in 1980, entitled Life Events and the Occurrence of Cancer in Children, Theodore Jacobs and Edward Charles assembled a group of 25 child cancer sufferers and sought to compare them with a matching group of 25 children drawn from a general paediatric unit. Jacobs and Charles interviewed the families of these two groups over a two-year period, using questionnaires and interviews based upon the famous Holmes and Rahe stress scale. This latter is a list of 43 life events which are conducive to stress. They are ranked in order of severity, the top two being Death of a Spouse and Divorce, the bottom two being Christmas and Minor Violation of Law. Read the rest of this entry »