Perturbing the Organism

The Biology of Stressful Experience

Herbert Weiner

Perturbing the Organism

Herbert Weiner

372 pages | 18 line drawings, 1 table | 6 x 9 | © 1992
Cloth $70.00 ISBN: 9780226890418 Published June 1992
The concept of stress pervades modern society, with relief from it promised on everything from vitamin to vacation packages. Yet there exists no generally accepted classification of stressful experience, nor is the concept itself universally considered a valid subject for research.

This authoritative work is the first to analyze critically the entire range of research and theory on stress in animals and humans, from the earliest studies in the 1930s up to the present day. Herbert Weiner not only documents the many empirical and conceptual advances of recent years, but also supplies a new working definition and classification of stressful experience. He describes the integrated, organismic responses to stressful environmental changes, tasks, and challenges in terms of functional adaptation: the failure of these responses results in injury, ill-health, disease, and death. To examine the coordination between behavior and bodily functions, Weiner reviews current knowledge on how stressful experiences also alter biobehavioral rhythms.

Providing a useful, integrative concept of stress rooted in an understanding of the organism as an interactive communication system composed of many subsystems, Perturbing the Organism will interest a wide range of clinicians and researchers throughout the medical and behavioral sciences.

The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Series on Mental Health and Development
List of Illustrations
1. Introduction
2. The History of the Concept of Stress
3. The Definition and Classification of Stressful Experience
4. The Outcomes of Natural and Manmade Disasters and of Stressful Personal Experiences
5. Stressful Experience and Ill Health
6. Stressful Experience and Disease
7. The Experimental Study of Stressful Experience in Animals
8. The Mediators of Stressful Experience: The Autonomic Nervous, Adrenal and Gonadal Systems
9. The Selection of the Signal and the Mediation of Stressful Experience by the Brain: The Generation of Patters and the Integration of Behavior and Physiology
10. New Concepts about the Organism and Its Perturbation by Stressful Experience
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