A case–control study was conducted in order to investigate the possible link between stressful life events and Parkinson's disease (PD). A group of 110 consecutive newly diagnosed PD cases treated at the Institute of Neurology, Faculty of Medicine, Belgrade University, was compared with a control group comprising 220 subjects with degenerative joint disease and some diseases of the digestive tract. The case and control subjects were matched by sex, age (±2 years) and place of residence (urban/rural). According to conditional multivariate logistic regression analysis, PD was found to be significantly related to retirement (odds ratio—OR 18.73, 95% confidence interval—95%CI 1.9–175.4), birth of own child (OR 66.22, 95%CI 8.3–526.3) and air raids (OR 5.66, 95%CI 2.4–13.5). The risk of PD significantly increased with the number of stressful events. The results of the present study support the hypothesis that stress may play a role in the development of PD. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.