Stress adaptation model


Stress adaptation model
Stress- It is the non specific response of the body to any kind of demand made up on it.(Selye-1956)
Stressor- Any person or situation that produces anxiety responses
Coping resources
It is the social and emotional support available to the person which will help him to cope effectively with stress.
Coping mechanisms
Ways in which a person attempts to manage stressful demands.
Types of stressors
         Environmental- Noise, pollution, traffic, crowding and any weather change.
         Physiologic- Illness, Injuries, hormonal changes, disturbed sleep, imabalanced nutrition.
         Social – Financial problems, increased work load, social events, loss of loved one.
         Thoughts- Negative self talk, perfectionism, comparison with others, low self esteem, hopeless and worthless thoughts.
Categories of coping strategies
         Adaptive - Solves the problem that is causing the anxiety, so the anxiety is decreased.
         Palliative- Temporarily decreases the anxiety but does not solve the problem, so the anxiety eventually returns. 
         Maladaptive- Unsuccessful attempts to decrease the anxiety without attempting to solve the problem.
         Dysfunctional- It is not successful in reducing anxiety or solving the problem at hand. Even minimal functioning becomes difficult and new problems develop as a result.
Common adaptive coping techniques
      Problem solving-Solving the problem which is causing stress.
      Assertiveness- Being assertive in reacting to the stress by expressing one’s own emotion is a socially acceptable way rather than suppressing.
      Self acceptance- Accepts one’s own weaknesses and strengths and tries to overcome that.
      Time management- Managing one’s time and plans effectively to resolve the issues relating to stress.
      Conflict resolution- Resolves the conflict which creates anxiety.
Maladaptive coping strategies
      Giving up- No efforts are made to resolve the stress provoking situation.
      Regression- Regression is the reversion to an earlier stage of development at the time of stress.
      Repression- Repression is the unconscious blocking of unacceptable thoughts, feelings and impulses which are related to stress
      Denial- Denial is the refusal to accept reality or fact, acting as if a painful event, thought or feeling did not exist. 
      Self blame- Blaming self for the situation which creates stress.

Hans Selye’s stress adaptation model
Hans Selye is the first person to give a scientific explanation for biological stress. He explained his stress model based on physiology and psychobiology as General Adaptation Syndrome (GAS).This model states that an event that threatens an organism’s well-being (a stressor) leads to a three-stage bodily response:

  • Alarm reaction
  • Resistance reaction
  • Exhaustion stage

Alarm reaction
While encountering a stressor, body reacts with “fight-or-flight” response and sympathetic nervous system is activated. Hormones such as cortisol and adrenalin will be released into the bloodstream to meet the threat or danger. The body’s resources will be mobilized.

Stressor--->Hypothalamus--->Sympathetic system--->Catecholamine---->Alarm reaction

Alarm reaction responses
      Increased heart rate and cardiac muscle contraction
      Blood supply to skin and viscera decreases
      Increased RBC production
      Increased glucose release
      Increased respiratory rate
      Production of saliva reduces
Resistance reaction
Parasympathetic nervous system returns many physiological functions to normal levels while body focuses resources against the stressor. Blood glucose levels remain high, cortisol and adrenalin continue to circulate at elevated levels, but outward appearance of organism seems normal. Body remains alert.

Stressor --->Hypothalamus--->CRH,GHRH, TRH--->ANTERIOR PITUITARY--->ACTH, HGH, TSH

Resistance responses
      Increased heart rate and cardiac muscle contraction
      Blood supply to skin and viscera decreases
      Increased RBC production
      Increased glucose release
      Increased respiratory rate
      Production of saliva reduces
Exhaustion stage
If stressor continues beyond body’s capacity, organism exhausts resources and becomes susceptible to disease and death.
      Cell death
      Organs weaken
      Poor general health.

Stress Management strategies

  • Get More Physical Exercise
  • Practice Relaxation 
  • Develop Good Sleeping and Eating Habits 
  • Reduce Your Use of Alcohol, Nicotine, and Caffeine  
  • Create a Support System 
  • Laugh
  • Think positively
  • Be aware about ones strength and weaknesses
  • Time management.



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item Stress adaptation model
Stress adaptation model
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