Graduate Research Papers


Open Access Graduate Research Paper


"...we are just beginning to see that many common diseases are largely due to errors in our adaptive response to stress, rather than to direct damage by germs, poisons, or life experience" (Selye, 1976, p. xvi). Stress is a term borrowed from the field of physics, where it is used to describe any strain, pressure or force applied to an operating system (Everly & Rosenfeld, 1981). The term was first introduced to the mental health field by Hans Selye in 1926. As a medical student, Selye noticed that many patients appeared to share several common symptoms, including loss of strength, high blood pressure, loss of appetite, and decreased ambition. The root of these symptoms Selye attributed to "stress," which he described as "the rate of wear and tear on the body" or, in more scientific terms, "the nonspecific response of the body to any demand" (Selye, 1976, p.55). As he pursued his study of stress, Selye distinguished between two types of stress. Positive stress he termed "eustress," and stress which went beyond the point of optimum performance Selye named "distress" (Selye, 1974).

Year of Submission


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Department of Educational Administration and Counseling

First Advisor

Ann Vernon


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