chapter  Chapter 1
15 Pages

Stress as a Psychophysiological Process

ByChris L. Peterson

This chapter discusses the developments in the concept of stress, as physiological reaction and as a psychophysiological process. Hans Selye was one of the most notable contributors to our understanding of the stress response. The principal physiological relationships recognized through the work of Cannon and Selye show that when the bodily system becomes aroused, the autonomic nervous system is activated. A number of researchers have argued the need for including cognitive and psychological elements in the stress response. The history of interest in the stress concept and stress research lies soundly within the domain of physiology, despite the fact that some early interest was shown in emotional response as a basis for stress. Lazarus suggests that environmental demand, the quality of the emotional response, and the coping style mobilized will influence the nature of the stress disorder. Mason and later Burchfield and others have demonstrated the need to consider emotional responses beyond purely physiological stimuli in the conception of stress.