Article

Stress Effects on Health

Paula S. Nurius and Charles P. Hoy-Ellis

in Encyclopedia of Social Work

Published by NASW Press and Oxford University Press


Published online September 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199975839 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acrefore/9780199975839.013.1045

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  • Care of the Elderly
  • Health, Illness, and Medicine
  • Human Behaviour and the Social Environment
  • Mental and Behavioural Health

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Evolving understandings of stress have literally transformed how we think about health as contextualized within complex and multilevel transactions between individuals and their environment. We present core concepts of stress through the lens of life-course and life-span perspectives, emphasizing appraisal-based and biobehavioral models of stress response systems. We describe theories of allostatic load, embodiment, epigenetics, weathering processes, and accelerated aging that operationalize mechanisms through which stress affects health and contributes to health disparities. In addition to social determinant and life-span developmental perspectives on stress and health, we emphasize the value of health-promotive factors that can serve to buffer stress effects. Social work has important roles in targeting health-erosive stress from “neurons to neighborhoods”.

Keywords: allostatic; disparities; embodiment; health; stress; weathering

Article.  9481 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Care of the Elderly ; Health, Illness, and Medicine ; Human Behaviour and the Social Environment ; Mental and Behavioural Health

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