Date of Award

Summer 1996

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)



Committee Director

Glenn Shean

Committee Member

Lawrence Tucker

Committee Member

Alan Rountree

Committee Member

Barbara Winstead

Committee Member

Kelly Crace


The possible relationship between stressful life events and subsequent illness has been studied in the past few decades, resulting in several widely-used questionnaires. However, these measures tend to focus on recent events and attempt to remove subjective rating of a stressful event by the respondent. These two factors may limit these scales clinical utility. An alternative measure, the Inventory of Life Span Events (ILSE) is proposed, to quantify the life-stress burden for childhood, adolescence, adulthood, and across the entire life span. ILSE was compared to other leading measures for life events, hassles and perceived stress, and was more closely related to life events than hassles or perceived stress measures. The comparative utility of these measures in explaining the variance for depressive, anxiety, neuroticism and dissociative symptoms was conducted. The ILSE childhood summary score (CHB) was specifically correlated with dissociation. ILSE displayed adequate validity through correlations with both life event and symptom measures and in predicting clinical vs. control group membership. ILSE also displayed adequate test-retest reliability on a six to eight week interval. It is anticipated ILSE will add a new dimension to life event assessment. Potential uses for the instrument concludes the write-up.


A Dissertation Submitted to the Faculties of The College of William and Mary, Eastern Virginia Medical School, Norfolk State University, and Old Dominion University in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Psychology through the Virginia Consortium Program in Clinical Psychology.


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