Stress has been defined in many ways, yet there has been no definition of stress that everyone accepts. It was because of this that i felt it was necessary to look at many different definitions of stress to get a more accurate understanding of the term.
Most definitions say that stress is caused by a stimulus. The stimulus which is also called the stressor can be either physical or psychological. The demands the stressor places on the individual must be excessive for stress to occur. It is important to understand that what is excessive for one individual may be perfectly tolerable for another. (Moorhead/Griffin 2010 pg 197)
Moorhead & Griffin state that much of what we know about stress can be traced back to the work of Dr. Hans Selye. Selye is often considered one of the early pioneers of modern stress theory. His scientific research helped to shape our understanding of stress. Selye defined stress as : “Stress is the nonspecific response of the body to any demand, whether it is caused by, or results in, pleasant or unpleasant conditions. (http://www.gentle-stress-relief.com/hans-selye.html)
Other sources such as Ivancevich and Matteson define stress as “the interaction of the individual with the environment” (Luthans 2002 pg 396) They go on to define stress as “an adaptive response, mediated by individual differences and/or psychological processes, that is a consequence of any external (environmental) action, situation, or event that places excessive psychological and/or physical demands on a person.”
Beehr and Newman are also another source that define stress as “a condition arising from the interaction of people and their jobs and characterized by changes within people that force them to deviate from their normal functioning.” (Luthans 2002 pg 396)
Luthans (2002 pg 396) states that another way to understand what stress is, is to point out what it is not: 1. Stress is