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ABSTRACT In this study we introduce the concept of centrality in an attempt to assess individual differences in the meaning underlying daily hassles Central hassles are defined as those which reflect important ongoing themes or problems in the person's life The characteristics of central hassles, and their role in psychological and somatic health, were assessed in a sample of 150 community-residing men and women The results indicate that central hassles vary in content from person to person and touch more on problems with personal needs and deficits in coping skills compared to noncentral hassles The dimension of centrality was found to play a significant role in the prediction of psychological symptoms Although the empirical case for the importance of centrality in the stress-illness relationship is inconclusive due to problems of confounding and a cross-sectional rather than longitudinal design, the ideas presented appear promising and provide a basis for further research on psychological vulnerability to stress