Encyclopedia of Behavioral Medicine

Living Edition
| Editors: Marc Gellman

Stress Vulnerability Models

  • Conny W. E. M. QuaedfliegEmail author
  • Tom Smeets
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-6439-6_65-2



Vulnerability models are used to identify factors that are causally related to symptom development. Stress vulnerability models describe the relation between stress and the development of (psycho)pathology. They propose an association between (1) latent endogenous vulnerability factors that interact with stress to increase the adverse impact of stressful conditions, (2) environmental factors that influence the onset and course of (psycho)pathology, and (3) protective factors that buffer against or mitigate the effects of stress on pathological responses.


The prevalence of stress-related mental disorders encompassing mood and anxiety disorders in Europe is above 20%. This morbidity is associated with high health-care costs, disability, and potential mortality. It is widely acknowledged that there are individual differences in how stressful people judge a particular event to be as well as in their ability to cope with adverse...


Glucocorticoid Receptor Stressful Life Event Mineralocorticoid Receptor Vulnerability Factor Trier Social Stress 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.
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References and Further Reading

  1. Coan, J. A., & Allen, J. J. B. (2003). The state and trait nature of frontal EEG asymmetry in emotion. In K. Hugdahl & R. J. Davidson (Eds.), The asymmetrical brain (pp. 565–616). Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.Google Scholar
  2. Curtis, W. J., & Cicchetti, D. (2003). Moving research on resilience into the 21st century: Theoretical and methodological considerations in examining the biological contributors to resilience. Development and Psychopathology, 15, 773–810.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. DeRijk, R. H., & de Kloet, E. R. (2008). Corticosteroid receptor polymorphisms: Determinants of vulnerability and resilience. European Journal of Pharmacology, 583, 303–311.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Gotlib, I. H., Joormann, J., Minor, K. L., & Hallmayer, J. (2008). HPA axis reactivity: A mechanism underlying the associations among 5-HTTLPR, stress, and depression. Biological Psychiatry, 63, 847–851.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Ingram, R. E., & Luxton, D. D. (2005). Vulnerability-stress models. In B. L. Hankin & J. R. Z. Abela (Eds.), Development of psychopathology: A vulnerability-stress perspective (pp. 32–46). Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Lupien, S. J., McEwen, B. S., Gunnar, M. R., & Heim, C. (2009). Effects of stress throughout the lifespan on the brain, behaviour and cognition. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 10, 434–445.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. Oitzl, M. S., Champagne, D. L., van der Veen, R., & de Kloet, E. R. (2010). Brain development under stress: Hypotheses of glucocorticoid actions revisited. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, 34, 853–866.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. Stahl, S. M. (2008). Stahl’s essential psychopharmacology: Neuroscientific basis and practical applications (3rd ed.). New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  9. ter Heegde, F., De Rijk, R. H., & Vinkers, C. H. (2015). The brain mineralocorticoid receptor and stress resilience. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 52, 92–110.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. Van Praag, H. M., de Kloet, E. R., & van Os, J. (2004). Stress, the brain and depression. New York: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Zubin, J., & Spring, B. (1977). Vulnerability-a new view of schizophrenia. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 86, 103–126.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Psychology and NeuroscienceMaastricht UniversityMaastrichtThe Netherlands

Section editors and affiliations

  • Urs M. Nater
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of MarburgMarburgGermany