What Is General Adaptation Syndrome (GAS) General Adaptation Syndrome is a theory formulated in 1936 by Dr. Hans Seyle, a celebrated figure in the field of stress research. Gas depicts the process of prolonged exposure to stress by separating behaviors into 3 stages. The Alarm Reaction, Resistance and Exhaustion Stage. This behavioral model is such a valuable tool in the study of stress research because it explains both the physiological and psychological effects of stress on the human body. The Alarm reaction stage All Stress is caused by external stimuli; the immediate response to these challenges or threats is the Alarm Reaction stage.
In the A. R. S. this perception of a threatening situation caused by the brain sends biochemical messages to various parts of the body, resulting in bodily changes such as increased or irregular heart beats, shallow fast-breathing or muscle tension (refer to appendix xxx).
It is this physical reactions that characterize this early stage is the GAS model.
Dr. Selle preformed most of the early work on the adaptation syndrome. His experiments in general looked at harmful stimuli on the response of the body. In an experiment, Seyle exposed a large number of rats to a refrigerated room where the temperature was near freezing, (Author pg#) .”..
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during the first 48 hours they developed the typical manifestations of the alarm reaction. This was proved by killing ten animals at the end of the second day; all of them had large fat-free adrenals, small thymuses, and stomach ulcers.” (Seyle, 1956; 88).
This experiment conducted illustrated the vast number of physical changes the body undergoes in stressful situations. The Resistance Stage The alarm reaction stage cannot be maintained indefinitely, and longer exposure to stressor’s cause people to progress to the resistance stage. The stage is also referred to as the ‘survival’s tage. Here people develop a way to fight off the response the stressor has inflicted upon us in the A.
R. S. This stage brings forward many defense mechanisms call coping strategies.