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0px Calibri}From the seventeenth century, the formation of the concept of stress began with Hook’s definition of ‘stress’ as related to physical science terms “load” and “strain” (Hinkle, 1977). By the 1950s, researchers started to analyse the physical effects of stress (Berkeley, 1952) and the factors which attribute to stress such as personality characteristics and developmental factors (Deese & Lazarus, 1953). In 1956, Selye coined the term “stressor”, viewing stress as a response to noxious stimuli or environmental stressors. Selye defined the term stress as a “state manifested by a specific syndrome which consists of all the non-specifically induced changes within a biological system”. Selye (1983) focused on describing and explaining a physiological response pattern known as the General Adaptation Syndrome (GAS), which consisted of three well-defined stages (alarm, resistance, and exhaustion). Selye (1983) postulated that if the GAS is severe enough and/or prolonged, disease states could result in death or the so-called diseases of adaptation.

 In 1966, Lazarus developed and tested a transactional theory of stress and coping (TTSC). He believed that stress as a concept had heuristic value, but in 27 and of itself was not measurable as a single factor. Lazarus (1966) contends that stress did not exist in the event but rather as a result of a transaction between a person and his/ her environment. As such, Lazarus (1966) proposes that stress encompasses a set of cognitive, affective, and coping factors. Lazarus’ theoretical framework emphasizes the important role that appraisal or self-evaluation plays in how a person reacts, feels, and behaves.

Lazarus and Folkman (1984), states that “psychological stress involves a particular relationship between the person and the environment that is appraised as taxing or exceeding his or her resources and endangering his or her well-being” (p. 19). They suggest that the individual initially appraises the event itself in three possible ways: 1) irrelevant, 2) benign positive or 3) stressful.

 

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