Psychosocial Stress and Psychosomatic Reactions

  • James Georgas
  • Eliza Giakoumaki
  • Thalia Dragonas
Conference paper


Stress has been the focus of intense interest on the part of psychology and medicine during the past 20 years since Selye’s pioneering work on the general adaptation syndrome. The work of Holmes and Rahe and their associates focused on the environmental events as potential stressors. They assume that certain psychosocial events in a society, which are essentially abrupt changes of environmental input, i.e. family, work, economic situation, physical environment, are potential stressors. In addition, they assume that when a series of potential stressors — sudden changes in life events — occur within a specific time period, the cumulative impact of these stressors can result in psychosomatic and psychological reactions which deleteriously affect the individual’s ability to cope. The Social Readjustment Rating Questionnaire by Holmes and Rahe and the Social Readjustment Rating Scale of Holmes represent two variations of their approach, in which specific stressor life events have been identified. Holmes and Rahe employ a nomothetic approach in which the ratings of psychological stress for each individual are drived from norms, and where the number of life events in the scale are fixed.


Stressor Life Event Somatic Symptom Psychosocial Stress Obstetrical Complication Psychosocial Event 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • James Georgas
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Eliza Giakoumaki
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Thalia Dragonas
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of AthensAthensGreece
  2. 2.Alexandra Maternity HospitalAthensGreece
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyUniversity of IoanninaGreece

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