General Adaptation Syndrome:
(Hans Selye) - One of the early researchers who developed a
biological model of stress in 1956. In what was called the
General Adaptation Syndrome
Selye's model consisted of 4 components: (1) stressors - both discrete (e.g., electric shock) and
continuous (e.g., noise); (2) conditioning factors that alter the impact of the stressor on the
organism; (3) the adaptation syndrome, i.e. the intervening state of stress in the organism; and (4)
responses - adaptive or maladaptive.
GAS helped explain the physiological changes that occur when exposed to prolonged stress. 3
successive stages in the adaptation syndrome:
1) Alarm reaction
– arousal, hormone (adrenalin) production, energy becomes available to
attend to situation
2) Stage of Resistance
– If stressor continues, body remains in high metabolic gear, wear and
tear can be high, can last for days, months, maybe even years.
3) Stage of Exhaustion
– body cannot keep up, systems wear out, breakdown, illness.
THE HOLMES-RAHE INVENTORY
What happened in the years following Selye's description of his model was that the term
stressor came to be viewed as an objective, verifiable event. Thus one of the early instruments on
stress was the
Holmes and Rahe
life events inventory
which provided a relatively easy to use,
clear cut, and objectively defined list of events that were also tied to the notion of stress as a
traumatic insult to the organism. The life events inventory was the starting point for decades of
research on stress, and the concept of stress came to be defined in a limited way as a discrete
stress is defined as a "force on a resisting body that may or may not
operate within normative limits". Thus, stress is defined as load in relation to capacity to resist.
However, psychologists and sociologists have typically not used this definition because it
potentially confounds stress with coping capacity. Typically, coping capacity is considered as a
separate factor in the stress process model so that we may discover
how it combines with stress
There is a distinction between temporary strain
and permanent strain
from "usual forces" on the material which occur within the elastic limit of that material -- thus
allowing the material to bounce back to its original shape.
appears when forces exceed the elastic limit strength of the material.
Example of a rubber band, and that of a airplane. The analogy for human is that individuals
have an elastic limit, perhaps varying over time, but distress/illness will occur when stress levels
exceed the elastic limit of the individual at any given point in time.
Thus if catastrophic forces act like a hammer, i.e. sudden impacts on the resisting material,