Workshop II. Psychopathology of Adaptive Learning

Motivation, Anxiety, and Stress
  • Stewart Wolf


The early papers emphasized that both the occurrence and character of bodily disturbances associated with the threatening life experiences must be seen as the result of the interaction of several factors, demanding on the one hand and supportive on the other. Moreover the prevailing state of the individual as well as quantitative and timing factors themselves may be crucial to the outcome. So may the degree of novelty or familiarity of the experience. In the case of a repeated experience the important factor may be whether the individual is sensitized or habituated to it. As Selye put it, “The main thing is not what happens to you but how you take it.” He further pointed out that intensely pleasant experiences, while often accompanied by pronounced autonomic and endocrine changes are rarely productive of symptoms of bodily disease. Dr. Isaac Marks recalled the well-known observation that individuals with clinically evident anxiety states are not especially likely to acquire psychosomatic illnesses.


Dent Anxiety Psychosomatic Illness Symbolic Stimulus Threatening Life Experience Bodily Disturbance 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1976

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stewart Wolf
    • 1
  1. 1.The Marine Biomedical InstituteUniversity of Texas Medical BranchGalvestonUSA

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