The next study that we will look at is one conducted by Holmes and Rahe in 1967. In this study the researchers wanted to find out if life stresses could be measured. They sent out a survey with 43 life events with marriage being a reference point having a score of 50 points. The respondents would then rate the life stresses dependent on this point either marking them higher or lower.
The top ten events were: Death of spouse, divorce, marital separation, jail term, death of close family member, personal injury or illness, marriage, fired at work, marital reconciliation, retirement. The bottom ten were: Minor violations of the law, Christmas, vacation, change in eating habits, change in number of family get-togethers, change in sleeping habits, small mortgage, change in social activities, change in church activities, and change in recreation. You can go here for a full list http://www.emotionalcompetency.com/srrs.htm.
The researchers also point out that in each of the situations it requires some sort of change, adaptation or coping on the part of the person. This is why even though an even may be positive it still causes stress. The researchers went on to show that this stress directly relates to illness, hopelessness and other things.
This leads into how we look at stress with our characters and what is affecting them. How do the changes in their lives stress them? How do they cope with it? Make a list of the stressors your MC's are being affected by and then calculate that stress. If it is high make sure the story is showing this and how that character is dealing with it.