•Hans Hugo Bruno Selye was born in Vienna, Austria-Hungary on Australia Day in 1907 and died on October 16, 1982. He was a pioneering Hungarian endocrinologist. During the year of 1930 he conducted experiments on stress and its effects. He confirmed that prolonged stress could be potentially harmful. He researched with rats and developed the three stage physiological stress response General Adaptation Syndrome.
He exposed the rats to a variety of stressors, for example painful tail pulling, exposure to different temperatures, excessive exercise, tying legs together. ›He then observed the physiological arousal patterns in response to each of the different kinds of stressors, these observations concluded that stress is a condition that is non specific, and can be brought on by either internal or external stressors.
STAGE ONE – Alarm Reaction
  • ›Individual first becomes aware of the stressor.
  • ›Organism looses ability to deal with the stressor as it goes into a temporary state of shock.
  • ›Psychologically the body reacts as if it were injured, e.g. Blood pressure and temperature goes down and muscle tone also decreases.
  • ›The body then enters what’s known as counter shock as the body rebounds from this alarm reaction.
STAGE TWO – Resistance
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  • If the source of the stress is not dealt with immediately and still continues to be stressed, then the organism goes into a stage of resistance.
  • ›During this stage the bodies resistance to the particular stress rises above the level of homeostasis.
STAGE THREE – Exhaustion
  • ›If the stressor is not dealt with successfully during the resistance stage, and the stress continues, then the organism enters the third stage of stress called exhaustion.
  • ›It can appear to be the alarm reaction, yet the effects of the stressor can no longer be dealt with due to their resources have been depleted.
  • ›An organisms resistance to disease is very weak and so the organism becomes increasingly vulnerable to physical and mental disorders.
  • ›The stage of the disorder is characterised by extreme fatigue, high levels of anxiety and depression.
STENGTHS
  • ›There is extensive research and evidence to support the GAS model of stress. It identifies the psychological mechanisms and characteristics associated with the stress response and his findings have been confirmed by researchers.
  • ›This model provides an explanation as to why over stress is not only detrimental to our psychological health, but also our physical health and wellbeing. It explains that bacteria is not the only cause for illness, as stress also weakens our immune system making us more susceptible to illness.
LIMITATIONS
  • ›This model provides an explanation as to why over stress is not only detrimental to our psychological health, but also our physical health and wellbeing. It explains that bacteria is not the only cause for illness, as stress also weakens our immune system making us more susceptible to illness.
  • ›Overlooks that every individual sees different stressors as either stressful or not, depending on the person.
  • ›It cannot predict the resulting complications due to the chronic stress.
  • ›Also, this research was conducted on animals (rats) and their psychological response to stress may differ to human responses to stress.
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