Psychological Medicine

Brief Communication

The List of Threatening Experiences: a subset of 12 life event categories with considerable long-term contextual threat

Traolach Brughaa1 c1, Paul Bebbingtona1, Christopher Tennanta1 p1 and Jane Hurrya1

a1 MRC Social Psychiatry Unit, Institute of Psychiatry, London


In a survey of a random sample of the general population recent life events, collected and rated for long-term contextual threat according to the methods of Brown & Harris (1978), were also recorded where possible on an inventory of life event categories (Tennant & Andrews, 1977). Of the 82·5% of all events collected which were covered by the inventory, 12 of the 67 event categories accounted for 77% of life events with an aetiologicaly significant rating of marked or moderate long-term threat. Where practical and economic constraints oblige research workers to choose the inventory method, a brief list of event categories, such as the List of Threatening Experiences, is recommended in preference to much longer lists.


c1 Address for correspondence: Dr T. Brugha, MRC Social Psychiatry Unit, Institute of Psychiatry, De Crespigny Park, Denmark Hill, London SE5 8AF.

p1 Present address: Department of Psychiatry, University of Sydney, Concord Hospital, Concord 2139, Australia.