General Adaptation Syndrome
The general adaptation syndrome (GAS) is a theory of stress responding proposed by Hans Selye. It refers to the nonspecific, generalized responses of the body in response to stress and provides a framework for the link between stress and chronic illness (Selye, 1956). This syndrome is divided into three stages: alarm reaction, resistance, and exhaustion.
Hans Selye (1907–1982), known as “the father” of the stress field, was a Hungarian endocrinologist who emigrated to Montreal, Canada, in 1932. He pioneered research on the biological effects of exposure to “noxious agents,” or stress, subsequently developing the concept of the general adaptation syndrome.
Selye first wrote about the general adaptation syndrome in the British journal Naturein 1936 when he was an assistant at McGill University’s Biochemistry Department in Montreal. In an experiment designed to discover a new hormone, he injected...
References and Readings
- Selye, H. (1936). A syndrome produced by nocuous agents. Nature, 138, 32.Google Scholar
- Selye, H. (1956). The stress of life. New York: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
- Selye, H. (1974). Stress without distress. Philadelphia, PA: J.B. Lippincott.Google Scholar
- Selye, H. (1976). Stress in health and disease. Reading, MA: Butterworths.Google Scholar
- Selye, H. (1982). History and present status of the stress concept. In L. Goldberger & S. Breznitz (Eds.), Handbook of stress: Theoretical and clinical aspects (pp. 7–17). New York: Free Press.Google Scholar