What Is The Concept Of Stress In Psychology

The term Stress In Psychology was introduced by Canadian endocrinologist G. Selye, who he understood as “a nonspecific response of the organism to any requirement presented to him.He noticed that regardless of the disease, some symptoms were identical in all patients (there was a decrease in appetite, weight, mood, etc.). Such an organism reaction is called “biological stress syndrome” or “general adaptation syndrome”. A nonspecific response implies that any environmental impact imposes a requirement on the restructuring of the organism. This requirement is not specific.

Very often, stress is identified with nervous overload or strong emotional stress. According to G. Stockfeld, situations associated with the performance of hazardous work (fire fighting, participation in hostilities), and situations where activity is difficult (time deficit, influence of distracting factors, etc.) are stressful. P. Fress indicates that conditions under which a person is not capable, not able or not ready to act (novelty, unusualness, suddenness of a situation), i.e. inconsistency of incentives for action and the ability to act adequately to the situation.

Stress can be viewed in two forms – as a fact of external reality that causes a nonspecific reaction of the organism (Selye), and as a process involving efforts to overcome a certain traumatic situation and cope with it (Ababkov, Perret). Mastering involves the development of behavioral strategies (coping) or the formation of a defense mechanism.

Stress In psychology is a multi-valued concept that includes four values ​​(according to Perret, Brauman):

  • 1) stress as an event that carries an additional load, as a result, we get situational stress, annoying, it aggravates and complicates the course of the event;
  • 2) stress as a reaction to a certain event – is associated with an emotional reaction and involves a certain process – stressful experience;
  • 3) stress as an intermediate variable – an intermediate process between the stimulus and the reaction to it;
  • 4) stress as a transactional process – the collision of the individual with the outside world. It begins with a specific assessment of an event and its own resources to overcome it.

Stress can be divided into the following types:

  • a) according to the type of human exposure:
    • systemic stresses, reflecting the stress of predominantly biological systems. They are caused by poisoning, tissue inflammation, bruises, etc.,
    • mental stress arising from any kind of effects involving the emotional sphere in the reaction,
    • external stress – the circumstances of the social and natural environment (catastrophes, terrorism, economic crises, drastic changes in the social environment),
    • internal stresses – goals, values, assessments, attitudes;
  • b) by the number and frequency of stressors:
    • single (divorce) and multiple (divorce + loss of work + close death),
    • periodic (seasonal work difficulties – session) and persistent (chronic diseases, living in poverty);
  • c) the degree of impact on the person:
    • microstressors – everyday difficulties. These are episodes of life that cause impairment of well-being, are perceived as threatening, offensive, frustrating or associated with losses: dissatisfaction with their appearance, illness of loved ones and care for them, domestic conflicts in the family, stress at work, economic instability P.), role stress. Everyday difficulties can exacerbate the effects of stronger and chronic stress, have a direct impact on well-being, mental and somatic functions (R. Lazarus),
    • macrostressors – critical life events. Macrostressors can be dated and localized in time and space. They require a qualitative reorganization in the structure “individual – world around”, therefore coming adaptation becomes impossible. Accompanied by persistent affective reactions. Critical life events can be:
      • – normative (they can be predicted and they are found among the majority of community members) and non-normative (sudden death),
      • – positive (birth of a child, wedding) and negative (death, divorce),
    • chronic stressors – determined by the time span.

Stress reactions or responses to stress can be physiological (neuroendocrine changes, autonomous excitement), behavioral (escape and attack), cognitive (concentration disorders, memory disorders, thinking errors) and emotional (experiencing fear, anger, sadness).

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