Selye - GAS

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Theory: Selye's General Adaptation Syndrome


Hans Selye was a medical doctor. He noticed that patients shared a common set of symptoms regardless of their particular injury or illness.

This led Selye to propose the concept of general adaptation syndrome (GAS).

  • Selye suggested that the body produces a general response to threat (stressor).
  • This response is adaptive because it enables the body to cope with extreme stress.
  • Finally he used the word 'syndrome' because a syndrome is the term for a condition that consists of several different identifiable symptoms.

Thus GAS = general+adaptation+syndrome

The Three Stages

Stage 1: Alarm Stage

Perception of the stressor leads to a response, i.e. alarm reaction.

In physiological terms, the hypothalamus sends a signal to the…


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