Stress and Life Events

  • John J. Schwab
  • Mary E. Schwab
Part of the Topics in General Psychiatry book series (TGPS)


For hundreds of years, concepts of mental illness have stipulated that it is the result of remote and immediate causes (e.g., Battie, p. 93) or, in more modern terms, of predisposing and precipitating factors. The immediate or precipitating causes consist of events and conditions that we now label “stressful.” In this chapter we will summarize the physiological background for the concept of stress that has been adopted and adapted by psychiatry, look at early studies on stress that began during World War II, and then review the ongoing series of investigations on health and disease in normal populations and the studies of life events and their relationship to illness.


Mental Illness Stressful Life Event Psychosomatic Medicine Illness Episode Psychophysiologic Response 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1978

Authors and Affiliations

  • John J. Schwab
    • 1
  • Mary E. Schwab
    • 2
  1. 1.University of LouisvilleLouisvilleUSA
  2. 2.Massachusetts Mental Health CenterBostonUSA

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