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Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS)

A disorder in which the immune system is gradually weakened and eventually disabled by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

Acute Stressors

Threatening events that have a relatively short duration and a clear endpoint.


Any behavior that is intended to hurt someone, either physically or verbally.

Approach-Approach Conflict

A conflict situation in which a choice must be made between two attractive goals.

Approach-Avoidance Conflict

A conflict situation in which a choice must be made about whether to pursue a single goal that has both attractive and unattractive aspects

Avoidance-Avoidance Conflict

Learning that has occurred when an organism engages in a response that prevents aversive stimulation from occurring.

Biopsychosocial Model

A model of illness that holds that physical illness is caused by a complex interaction of biological, psychological, and sociocultural factors.


Physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion that is attributable to work-related stress.

Catastrophic Thinking

Unrealistically pessimistic appraisals of stress that exaggerate the magnitude of one's problems.


The release of emotional tension.

Chronic Stressors

Threatening events that have a relatively long duration and no readily apparent time limit.


A state that occurs when two or more incompatible motivations or behavioral impulses compete for expression.

Constructive Coping

Relatively healthful efforts that people make to deal with stressful events.


Active efforts to master, reduce, or tolerate the demands created by stress.

Defensive Mechanisms

Largely unconscious reactions that protect a person from unpleasant emotions such as anxiety and guilt.

Fight-or-Flight Response

A physiological reaction to threat in which the autonomic nervous system mobilizes the organism for attacking (fight) or fleeing (flight) an enemy.


The feeling that people experience in any situation in which their pursuit of some goal is thwarted.

General Adaptation Syndrome

Selye's model of the body's stress response, consisting of three stages: alarm, resistance, and exhaustion.

Health Psychology

The subfield of psychology concerned with how psychosocial factors relate to the promotion and maintenance of health and with the causation, prevention, and treatment of illness.

Immune Response

The body's defensive reaction to invasion by bacteria, viral agents, or other foreign substances.

Internet Addiction

Spending an inordinate amount of time on the Internet and being unable to control online use.

Learned Helplessness

Passive behavior produced by exposure to unavoidable aversive events.

Life Changes

Any noticeable alterations in one's living circumstances that require readjustment.


A general tendency to expect good outcomes.


Expectations or demands that one behave in a certain way.

Psychosomatic Diseases

Physical ailments with a genuine organic basis that are caused in part by psychological factors, especially emotional distress.

Rational-Emotive Therapy

An approach to therapy that focuses on altering clients' patterns of irrational thinking to reduce maladaptive emotions and behavior.

Social Support

Various types of aid and succor provided by members of one's social networks.


Any circumstances that threaten or are perceived to threaten one's well-being and that thereby tax one's coping abilities.

Type A Personality

Personality characterized by (1) a strong competitive orientation, (2) impatience and time urgency, and (3) anger and hostility.

Type B Personality

Personality characterized by relatively relaxed, patient, easygoing, amicable behavior.

Richard Lazarus

developed the Hassle scale measuring the everyday hassles and stress and its significance.

Hans Selye

formulated an influential theory of stress reactions called the general adaptation syndrome.

Albert Ellis

identified the tendency to become highly self-critical in response to stress as "catastrophic thinking" and also noted many tendencies related to it.

Shelley Taylor and Jonathon Brown

suggested that "positive illusions" may be adaptive for mental health (referring to defense mechanisms)

Christopher Peterson and Martin Seligman

studied how people explain bad events and identified pessimistic and optimistic explanatory styles and their differences.

Robin DiMatteo

a leading expert on patient behavior.

Meyer Friedman and Ray Rosenman

discovered a connection between coronary risk and Type A Personality

Walter Cannon

Was one of the first theorists to describe the fight or flight response.

Holmes and Rahe

developed the Social Readjustment Rating Scale

Janice Kiecolt-Glaser

Related stress to suppressed immune activity in humans.

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