Sampling the Stress Universe

  • Blair Wheaton

Abstract

The word stress has many connotations. There are two quite distinct areas of ambiguity surrounding this term. One has to do with the stage of the stress process at which stress occurs. Some use stress to refer to the problems people face (the stimulus), others to refer to the generalized response to these problems (as in “psychological stress”), and still others to refer to a mediating state of the organism in response to threat that may or may not generalize (the black box between stimulus and generalized response). It may be helpful, therefore, to distinguish at the outset among Stressors, stress, and distress—the stimulus problem, the processing state of the organism that remains unmapped in the psychosocial approach, and the generalized behavioral response. The term strain is also sometimes used to refer to Stressors, but I use it, following its original meaning, to refer to the response side of the model.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Blair Wheaton
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of SociologyUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada

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