1st Edition

Life Events and Emotional Disorder Revisited Research and Clinical Applications

By Antonia Bifulco, Ruth Spence, Lisa Kagan Copyright 2021
    236 Pages 41 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    236 Pages 41 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Life Events and Emotional Disorder Revisited explores the variety of events that can occur, their inherent characteristics and how they affect our lives and emotions, and in turn their impact on our mental health and wellbeing.

    The book focuses on current social problems nationally and internationally, showing the reach of life events research including those linked to Covid-19. It also discusses trauma experiences and how they fit in the life events scheme. To underpin the various life event dimensions identified (such as loss, danger and humiliation), the authors have developed an underlying model of human needs, jeopardised by the most damaging life events. This includes attachment, security, identity and achievement. The book brings together classic research findings with new advances in the field of life events research, culminating in a new theoretical framework of life events, including new discussions on trauma, on positive events and an online methodology for measuring them. Additionally, it draws out the clinical implications to apply the research for improved practice.

    The book will be of interest to researchers, clinicians and students in psychology, psychiatry and psychotherapy in broadening their understanding of how life events impact on individuals and how this can be applied to enhance clinical practice and stimulate future research.

    1: Introduction; SECTION 1 – LIFE EVENTS AND DEPRESSION; 2: Life events are multi-dimensional; 3: Trauma – extreme life events; 4: Life events and vulnerability; SECTION 2 – LIFE EVENT MEASUREMENT; 5: Contending with atheoretical measurement; 6: Technology and measuring events; SECTION 3- POSITIVE LIFE EVENTS, RECOVERY AND WELLBEING; 7: Positive events and recovery; 8: Positive events and wellbeing; 9: Conclusion; References; Appendix 1; Index


    Antonia Bifulco is Professor and Director at the Centre for Abuse and Trauma Studies at Middlesex University. She began her career as part of the original Brown & Harris team who developed their novel approach to life events methodology. She is a psychologist with expertise in lifetime development, trauma, attachment and emotional disorder.

    Ruth Spence is a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at the Centre of Abuse and Trauma Studies at Middlesex University. She undertook her PhD at the University of Cambridge and is expert in forensic and clinical issues and mental health in young people.

    Lisa Kagan is a Research Fellow at the Centre for Abuse and Trauma Studies at Middlesex University. Her interests include investigating risks for clinical disorder in youth and adults and qualitative methods to explore the meaning of experience. She is also a Chartered Clinical Psychologist working in IAPT services.

    Given the great progress in genetic research it is important to consider advances in the methodologies relating to the "environment". This book describes the gold standard approach to the study of life events as precipitating factors for episodes of ill health. The Bedford Square team (of whom Antonia Bifulco, one of the authors of this book was a member) applied meticulous attention to detail and an empathetic interviewing style to obtain deep psychological understanding. The resultant model fostered the development of new approaches to treatment such as befriending, peer and "grandmother" support to provide the protective power of a confidante.  CLEAR (Computerised Life Events Assessment Record) is a digital update of life events methodology. The acceptability reliability and utility of this new tool which should transform both research and treatment are described in this book.

    Professor Janet Treasure, OBE, Professor of Psychiatry,

    Institute of Psychiatry, Kings College London.

    Beginning with a review of the LEDS, a labor-intensive interview with a unique focus on daily events and their relationship to mental disorder, Bifulco and colleague’s book updates the measure and describes a computerized version that avoids many of the pitfalls of checklists designed to replace it. A huge body of research relevant to the LEDS and related measures is reviewed, clearly written with helpful tables and diagrams. The emphasis on positive events and robustness contributing greatly to the field. While clearly useful to researchers, inclusion of cases, discussion of various therapeutic approaches and clinical implications makes the book a valuable resource for clinicians.

    Dr Helen Stein,

    Psychologist and Psychoanalyst.

    Retired member of the Menninger Foundation research team,

    Kansas, USA

    Life Events and Emotional Disorder Revisited – revives life events research and makes it current. The book takes us on a historical journey in each section. First, back to the epidemiological roots of life events research and the well-established life events work of George Brown and Tirril Harris. It then travels on a whistle stop tour through the recent research on life adversity and role of positive life events including current reflections on the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. The book offers a new theoretical framework for understanding the impact of life adversity and a contemporary online measure of life stress (the CLEAR) that has widespread implications for research in this area.

    This book provides a sophisticated account of life events research over time and a great resource for academics and students alike.

    Dr Gemma Traviss-Turner – Lecturer in primary Care, University of Leeds