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This study was designed to determine if differences exist in the number of stressful life events experienced by individuals precipitating a first admission vs. readmission to an inpatient psychiatric facility based on diagnostic classification and sex. The subjects consisted of adult patients diagnosed as schizophrenic, depressive neurotic, or chemically addicted, who had not been hospitalized for psychiatric problems for at least 12 months prior to the current hospitalization. The Holmes and Rahe Social Readjustment Rating Scale was used to quantify the life stresses experienced. A 3 x 2 x 2 analysis of variance showed no significant differences between groups.