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May 1982

Life Events and SymptomsFourier Analysis of Time Series From a Three-Year Prospective Inquiry

Author Affiliations

From the Psychiatry and Research Services, Veterans Administration Medical Center, San Diego (Dr Grant and Mr Sweetwood); the Department of Psychiatry, University of California at San Diego School of Medicine, La Jolla (Dr Grant and Mr Sweetwood); the Psychiatry Service, Veterans Administration Medical Center, Brentwood, Calif, and the UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute, Los Angeles (Dr Yager); and the Department of Mathematics, University of California at San Diego, La Jolla (Dr Olshen).

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1982;39(5):598-605. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1982.04290050066013

• In a three-year prospective study in which life events and psychiatric symptoms were assessed every two months, Fourier analyses led to the classification of event-symptom relationships into five typologies. Only one event-symptom typology, representing 9% of subjects, was consistent with the commonly held causal model. The results indicate that future progress in life-events research will require prospective designs, more sophisticated methods for gathering life-events data than the Schedule of Recent Experiences, focus on qualitative features of events (eg, undesirability or threat), and identification of personal characteristics and coping styles that might augment or attenuate the health impacts of life happenings.