STUDY OBJECTIVE--To investigate the association, if any, between negative social events and physical illness. DESIGN--Comparison of major social events and indices of disease. SETTING-Hong Kong, 1962 to 1985. SUBJECTS--Patients treated in hospital for attempted suicide, coronary heart disease, and diabetes mellitus. MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS--Major events were selected from the annual Hong Kong Year Book, and grouped in one of 18 categories by a panel of 10 assessors. Weights were assigned to each category according the likely stress produced. Individual events were then scored and multiplied by the category weights to produce an overall stress score from which a total stress score for each year was derived. Annual stress scores were then compared with hospital attendance rates for the three medical conditions. CONCLUSIONS--The study has shown that: (1) the stress induced in the community by major negative social events in Hong Kong had been increasing; and (2) this stress is associated with attempted suicide but not with diabetes mellitus or coronary heart disease.
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