What Is Stress?

Critical Thinking Questions

Provide an example (other than the one described earlier) of a situation or event that could be appraised as either threatening or challenging.


Answers will vary. One example is divorce. People may perceive a divorce as a threat if they believe it will result in loneliness, change of lifestyle (due to loss of additional income), or humiliation in the eyes of their family. However, divorce may be perceived as a challenge if they view it as an opportunity to find somebody more compatible, and if they consider the process of finding a new partner a pleasant one, perhaps involving mystery and excitement.

Provide an example of a stressful situation that may cause a person to become seriously ill. How would Selye’s general adaptation syndrome explain this occurrence?


Answers will vary. One example is when somebody’s spouse dies or is unexpectedly diagnosed with a fatal disease. In both cases, the stress experienced by the surviving spouse would be intense, continuous, and—according the general adaptation syndrome—would eventually increase vulnerability to illness or disease (exhaustion stage).