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The domain of life events: a comparison of two techniques of description

  • Paul Bebbington (a1), Christopher Tennant (a1), Elizabeth Sturt (a1) and Jane Hurry (a1)


This paper compares the coverage of potential life events by the inventory developed by Tennant & Andrews (1976) and the post hoc designation originated by Brown (1974). It was found that the rubric of the inventory failed to describe 5% of ‘marked’ events and 21% of ‘moderate’ events. The relative risk of minor psychiatric disorder in response to events was 3·1 for those defined by the Brown technique and 1·4 for those using the inventory. The results suggests that the post hoc designation is superior. This superiority must be weighed against its undoubted costliness.


Corresponding author

1 Address for correspondence: Dr P. Bebbington MRC Social Psychiatry Unit, Institute of Psychiatry, De Crespigny Park, Denmark Hill, London SE5 8AF.


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