Unit 10: Stress Theory; Selyle/Psychoneuroimmunology
By Jessica Cronin RN, Teri Lieser RN
Unit 10 examines stress, the stress response as described by Dr. Hans Selye in addition to clinical situations and research involving Stress Theory, a borrowed theory used in nursing practice.
Unit Objectives 1. Describe the background, development and concepts of Stress Theory 2. Identify the relationship among Stress Theory concepts 3. Outline the phenomena, populations and clinical situations Stress Theory explains
Assigned Readings Clancy, J. & McVicar, A. (1993). Subjectivity of stress. British Journal of Nursing, 2(8), 410- 417. Hays, M., All, A., Mannahan, C., Cuaderes, E., & Wallace, D.
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All of this activity is labeled as counter shock. If additional stressors occur or the initial stressor remains, the person enters the resistance phase. The attempt of the endocrine system that primarily controls the resistance stage is to restore homeostasis. Hormones released by the adrenal glands increase blood sugar levels in attempt to provide the body energy to cope with stressors. This is referred to as adaptation energy. If adaptation energy resists the effects of stressors, homeostasis will result. However, if coping mechanisms do not enable the person to accomplish homeostasis, then exhaustion occurs. Here, the signs of the alarm stage recur as homeostatic control systems have failed. Stress related illness occurs. Intervention is now needed to restore homeostasis. Medical intervention is necessary at this point in order to diagnose and treat the stressor associated with the illness. Adaptation energy is finite, because continuous distress causes depletion and exhaustion, and death occur. (McEwen, B., 2005).
Application of Theory As stress is “inevitable in everyone’s life, and individuals must deal with stress by adapting through coping” (McEwen & Wills, 2007, p. 314), stress theories provide a framework for nursing to understand the effects that stress has on the individual and the response of the individual to the stress. If the individual adapts to the stress successfully, equilibrium is reached; if not,