Encyclopedia of Child Behavior and Development

2011 Edition
| Editors: Sam Goldstein, Jack A. Naglieri

Diathesis-stress Model

Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-0-387-79061-9_845



The diathesis-stress model describes a resulting interaction of genetic vulnerabilities and environmental stress on a person’s physical and mental health.


The diathesis-stress model describes how genetic or biological factors interact with environmental stress which results in a disorder or condition. Specifically, this theory purports that an individual’s biological vulnerabilities, or predispositions, to particular psychological disorders can be triggered by stressful life events. If the individual is resilient or has low biological vulnerability for a particular disorder, it would take extremely high levels of stress to trigger symptoms of that disorder. On the other hand, if the individual has high biological vulnerability to the disorder, then it would take lower levels of stress for symptoms to be exhibited. Until this critical level of stress is reached, the...

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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Educational Psychology and Special EducationMichigan State UniversityEast LansingUSA