• Michael Feuerstein
  • Elise E. Labbé
  • Andrzej R. Kuczmierczyk


As Hans Selye (1980), a pioneer stress researcher, pointed out, “stress is a scientific concept which has suffered from the mixed blessing of being too well known and too little understood” (p. 127). Although stress is a difficult concept, or more accurately, construct, to define, as with anxiety or pain, much research has been directed at understanding the various phenomena associated with it. Whether or not stress is a useful construct depends to some degree on whether scientific investigation can unambiguously describe and measure it and whether factors that influence it can be isolated. A construct is only useful in terms of its organizing and explanatory power. The purpose of this chapter is to critically review the stress construct. A historical review, followed by a working or operational definition, will be presented. Models of stress will be reviewed, along with measurement techniques. Factors that influence or modulate the stress response will also be identified. One such factor is the coping process an individual engages in when confronted with a potentially threatening situation. Because of the recent emphasis on the role of cognitive modulation of the stress response, a detailed review of the research in this area will be presented.


Social Support Stress Response Stressful Life Event Coping Style Behavioral Medicine 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael Feuerstein
    • 1
  • Elise E. Labbé
    • 2
  • Andrzej R. Kuczmierczyk
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Rochester School of Medicine and DentistryRochesterUSA
  2. 2.University of Miami School of MedicineMiamiUSA

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