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Clinical, field, and experimental studies of response to potentially stressful life events give concordant findings: there is a general human tendency to undergo episodes of intrusive thinking and periods of avoidance. A scale of current subjective distress, related to a specific event, was based on a list of items composed of commonly reported experiences of intrusion and avoidance. Responses of 66 persons admitted to an outpatient clinic for the treatment of stress response syndromes indicated that the scale had a useful degree of significance and homogeneity. Empirical clusters supported the concept of subscores for intrusions and avoidance responses.