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Mary and Joseph on Holmes Rahe Stress Scale

The Holmes Rahe scale assigns points to various life stressors. These points are called LCUs or a life change units. Dr. Holmes and Dr. Rahe concluded that an individual experiences a total of 300 LCUs is at high risk for illness. Among other things, the list includes such events as:

  • Marital separation 65
  • Marriage 50
  • Marital reconciliation 45
  • Pregnancy 40
  • Adding a new family member 39
  • Change in financial state 38
  • Trouble with in-laws 29
  • Change in living conditions 25
  • Change in working conditions 20
  • Change in residence 20
  • Change in church activities 19
  • Change in social activities 18
  • Change in sleep habits 16
  • Minor violation of the law 11

Joseph and Mary could conceivably have experienced all of the events listed above for a total LCU count of 435. This total excludes divorce (73 points), as it was threatened but not carried out. Neither jail terms (40 points) or minor violations of the law (11 points) are included in the previously mentioned total, but Mary's pregnancy out of wedlock was a violation of Jewish law which, some contend, could have resulted in stoning. Christmas (12) is also excluded.

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