Models of Stress and Coping

This complex concept was first studied by Hans Selye, a Canadian scientist who spent his entire career researching the body’s physical responses to stress.  His model of those responses is known as the general adaptation syndrome (GAS).  Professor Selye identified three stages associated with this syndrome:  the alarm stage, the resistance stage, and the exhaustion stage.  In the alarm stage, the sympathetic nervous system is activated, which increases the heart rate, respiration, and other physiological processes needed to combat the challenges to the body’s adaptive processes.  This response has also been characterized as the fight-or-flight response.  The second stage, the resistance phase, involves the body trying to resist the stress when it persists over a period of time.  During this phase, the individual appears to be doing fine, but his or her bodily defenses are actually beginning to erode.  In the final stage, exhaustion is reached.  Exhaustion occurs because the body’s resources for combating stress are limited.  After exhaustion is reached, arousal decreases, and so does one’s capacity for resistance, which results in disease as an adaptation to the biological threat or challenge.

I thought that this was interesting … I found this in a textbook for social workers.  Applied to the childbirth world … you have the fight-or-flight response during the alarm stage, the resistance stage is you working against your body instead of with your body, and after so long of fighting labor, you become exhausted, and will most likely need intervention.

~ by cmb0414 on August 3, 2010.

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