stress

stress
An imprecise concept, popular in everyday and academic discourse. It may refer to external situational pressures (stressors) or to the responses to them (stress reactions)-responses usually assumed to have physical and psychological components, such as raised pulse-rate and adrenalin levels, and feelings of anxiety and discomfort. In either usage it is commonly invoked as a key factor in explanations of bodily and mental ill-health, various forms of under-performance, and deviant behaviour. Its attraction to social scientists lies in its potential to link features of the individual's present or recent social situation to some specified outcome.
Much of the sociological debate focuses on identifying and measuring the domain of the stressful. Some researchers assume only negative occurrences like divorce or unemployment are stressful, others any situation involving significant change (for example marriage, job promotion, or moving house); some incorporate only life-events, others include ongoing difficulties; some employ standardized measures (for example the Social Readjustment Rating Scale), others assess subjective meanings, arguing that what is stressful for one may not be stressful for another. However, subjective assessments of stressful experiences are problematic since they may be contaminated by the very feelings generated by that experience, as for example in the case of clinically depressed individuals who retrospectively identify a particular life-event as stressful in order either to co-operate in treatment or to facilitate self-understanding of their (otherwise mysterious) illness. George Brown and Tirril Harris, in their influential study Social Origins of Depression (1978), measure meaning not by direct subjective evaluations but through contextual evidence about values, objectives, and circumstances.
Of increasing interest in the field is the identification of factors such as social support that mediate between stressful situations and responses to them. Brown and Harris term these ‘vulnerability’ or, conversely, ‘coping’ factors, examining situationally generated rather than biological vulnerability.

Dictionary of sociology. 2013.

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  • STRESS — Le stress est un terme emprunté à la physique. Ce terme désigne la contrainte exercée sur un matériau. Normalement, un matériau est capable de résister à toute une série de contraintes modérées. Mais, si la contrainte est excessive ou si le… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Stress — (engl. für „Druck, Anspannung“; lat. stringere: „anspannen“) bezeichnet zum einen durch spezifische äußere Reize (Stressoren) hervorgerufene psychische und physische Reaktionen bei Lebewesen, die zur Bewältigung besonderer Anforderungen befähigen …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • stress — [stres] noun [uncountable] continuous feelings of worry about your work or personal life, that prevent you from relaxing: • a stress related illness (= one caused by stress ) • She s been under stress at work. • a stress management consultant …   Financial and business terms

  • Stress — may refer to: Mechanical * Stress (physics), the average amount of force exerted per unit area. * Yield stress, the stress at which a material begins to deform plastically. * Compressive stress, the stress applied to materials resulting in their… …   Wikipedia

  • Stress — Stress, n. [Abbrev. fr. distress; or cf. OF. estrecier to press, pinch, (assumed) LL. strictiare, fr. L. strictus. See {Distress}.] 1. Distress. [Obs.] [1913 Webster] Sad hersal of his heavy stress. Spenser. [1913 Webster] 2. Pressure, strain;… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • stress — n 1 Stress, strain, pressure, tension are comparable terms when they apply to the action or effect of force exerted within or upon a thing. Stress and strain are the comprehensive terms of this group and are sometimes used interchangeably {put… …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • stress — strèss s.m.inv. 1. TS psic. reazione emozionale a una serie di stimoli esterni che mettono in moto risposte fisiologiche e psicologiche di natura adattiva | impropr., ogni stimolo che induce stress 2. CO colloq., tensione nervosa, logorio… …   Dizionario italiano

  • stress — [stres] n. [ME stresse < OFr estresse < VL * strictia < L strictus,STRICT; also, in some senses, aphetic < DISTRESS] 1. strain or straining force; specif., a) force exerted upon a body, that tends to strain or deform its shape b) the… …   English World dictionary

  • Stress — (str[e^]s), v. t. 1. To press; to urge; to distress; to put to difficulties. [R.] Spenser. [1913 Webster] 2. To subject to stress, pressure, or strain. [1913 Webster] 3. To subject to phonetic stress; to accent. [Webster 1913 Suppl.] 4. To place… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • stress — [n1] emphasis accent, accentuation, beat, force, import, importance, significance, urgency, weight; concepts 65,668 Ant. ignorance, unimportance stress [n2] physical or mental pressure affliction, agony, alarm, albatross*, anxiety,… …   New thesaurus

  • stress|or — «STREHS uhr», noun. Psychology. any stimulus that produces stress or strain: »Experimental stressors, for obvious reasons, are very mild, the most usual being distracting or painful noises, electric shocks, the stress of examinations (New… …   Useful english dictionary

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