Encyclopedia of Behavioral Medicine

2013 Edition
| Editors: Marc D. Gellman, J. Rick Turner

Perceptions of Stress

  • Kristen Salomon
  • Mardís Karlsdóttir
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-1005-9_273



The construals or appraisals of an event that result in the experience of stress. Major theoretical definitions of stress emphasize perception as an important component responsible for the experience of stress. According to Lazarus and Folkman (1984), events are perceived as stressful if they are perceived as (1) relevant to one’s well-being and (2) having the potential for harm or loss. Primary appraisals of demand, difficulty, and/or uncertainty when weighed against secondary appraisals of coping resources and abilities may result in further perceptions of stress as a challenge to be met and overcome (resources outweigh demands) or as a threat to be endured (demands outweigh resources). These resultant perceptions can influence the psychological and physiological responses to the stressor (Tomaka, Blascovich, Kelsey, & Leitten, 1993). Perceptions of a stressful event’s duration (chronic vs. acute), severity, controllability, and predictability...

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References and Readings

  1. Hobfoll, S. E. (1989). Conservation of resources: A new attempt at conceptualizing stress. American Psychologist, 44, 513–524.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Lazarus, R. S., & Folkman, S. (1984). Stress, appraisal and coping. New York: Springer.Google Scholar
  3. Tomaka, J., Blascovich, J., Kelsey, R. M., & Leitten, C. L. (1993). Subjective, physiological, and behavioral effects of threat and challenge appraisals. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 65, 248–260.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of South Florida College of Arts & SciencesTampaUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyThe University of Iceland School of Health SciencesReykjavíkIceland