Stress Inoculation in Health Care

Theory and Research
  • Irving L. Janis


Stress inoculation involves giving people realistic warnings, reommendations, and reassurances to prepare them to cope with impending dangers or losses. At present, stress inoculation procedures range in intensiveness from a single 10-minute preparatory communication to an elaborate training program with graded exposure to danger stimuli accompanied by guided practice in coping skills, which might require 15 hours or more of training. Any preparatory communication is said to function as stress inoculation if it enables a person to increase his or her tolerance for subsequent threatening events, as manifested by behavior that is relatively efficient and stable rather than disorganized by anxiety or inappropriate as a result of denial of real dangers. Preparatory communications and related training procedures can be administered before or shortly after a person makes a commitment to carry out a stressful decision, such as undergoing surgery or a painful series of medical treatments. When successful, the process is called stress inoculation because it may be analogous to what happens when people are inoculated to produce antibodies that will prevent a disease.


Surgical Patient Coping Skill Cognitive Coping Coping Pattern Increase Stress Tolerance 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Irving L. Janis
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyYale UniversityNew HavenUSA

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