Table of Contents

Research Companion to Organizational Health Psychology

Research Companion to Organizational Health Psychology

New Horizons in Management series

Edited by Alexander-Stamatios G. Antoniou and Cary L. Cooper

This timely Research Companion is essential reading to advance the understanding of healthy behaviours within working environments and to identify problems which can be the cause of illness. Containing both theoretical and empirical contributions written by distinguished academics working in Europe, North America and Australia, the book covers leading edge topics ranging from current theories of stress, stress management, and stress in specific occupational groups, such as doctors and teachers, to the relationship of stress with well-being. It provides systematic approaches towards practical actions and stress interventions in working environments and a solid theoretical framework for future research. It will be an essential companion to research on psychology and medicine as well as stress.

Chapter 4: Biological Basis of Stress-Related Diseases

Maria-Alexandra Magiakou and George P. Chrousos

Subjects: business and management, human resource management, organisational behaviour


Maria-Alexandra Magiakou and George P. Chrousos Introduction ‘Stress’ is a state of disharmony or threatened homeostasis. The concepts of stress and homeostasis can be traced back to ancient Greek history, however, the integration of these notions with related physiological and pathophysiological mechanisms and their association with specific illnesses are much more recent (Chrousos and Gold, 1992). Life exists by maintaining a complex dynamic equilibrium or homeostasis that is constantly challenged by intrinsic or extrinsic adverse forces, the stressors (Chrousos and Gold, 1992). Under favorable conditions and under the influence of controllable stressors, individuals can be involved in pleasurable functions that enhance their emotional and intellectual growth and development and the survival of their species. In contrast, activation of the stress response during threatening situations that are beyond the control of the individual can be associated with dysphoria and eventually mental and/or somatic disease (Chrousos, 1992; Tsigos and Chrousos, 1994, 2002). Both physical and emotional stressors set into motion central and peripheral physiological responses designed to preserve homeostasis (Table 4.1) (Chrousos and Gold, 1992). Hence every element of the stress response, including that originating from an inflammatory/immune reaction, must briskly respond to restraining forces, otherwise these responses will lose their adaptive quality and contribute to the process of pathological change. Stress system physiology and regulation of the stress response The stress system is defined as a discrete, dedicated system evolved specifically for the coordination of the general adaptation response. Its two principal components are the corticotrophin-releasing...

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