Cognitive approaches to stress have focused on the role of individual differences in the appraisal of situations and coping responses in determining behavioral and emotional responses to stressful situations (e.g., Bandura, 1977; Beck, 1984; Lazarus & Folkman, 1984). Lazarus and Folkman (1984) define stress as “a particular relationship between the person and the environment that is appraised by the person as taxing or exceeding his or her resources and endangering his or her well-being” (p. 19). In their view, stress appraisals include harm or loss, threat, and challenge. Beck (1984) on the otherhand refers to three “stress syndromes” (hostility, fear, and depression) that represent emotional responses. In the hostility syndrome, individuals are hypersensitive to events that signal restraint or assault, whereas in the fear syndrome individuals are highly sensitive to danger. In the depression syndrome, the negative cognitive triad is activated. The basic tenet of this theory is that stress consists of the activation of cognitive schemas, with an idiosyncratic content specific for each syndrome.


Coping Response Homework Assignment Automatic Thought Work Colleague Stress Appraisal 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Adrian Wells
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry, Warneford HospitalUniversity of OxfordOxfordEngland

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