Stress and Its Physiological and Psychological Sources


Human health is a complex system consisting of several psychological and physiological factors. Their interaction is the primary cause of stress, leading to various problems in the nervous system and the brain (Straub, 2016). The main question of health psychology research, in this case, should be the physiological sources of stress and how they affect the mental and physical states of an individual. Thus, it is necessary to analyze several biological systems as an example of how stress arises.

Stress: Psychological and Physiological Factors

The cardiovascular system comprises two parts: the heart and blood arteries, which work together to provide sustenance and oxygen to the body’s organs. In the body’s response to stress, overall functioning of these two components is coordinated (Straub, 2016). As a result, chemicals such as noradrenaline, adrenaline, and cortisol function as messengers for these effects, causing an increase in heart rate and more significant heart muscle contractions.

Stress and intense emotions can cause respiratory symptoms, including breathlessness and fast breathing, as the passageway between the lungs and the nose constricts. Apparently, psychological stresses can increase breathing issues in patients with respiratory disorders like chronic obstructive pulmonary illness or asthma (Straub, 2016). Consequently, role of the respiratory system, in this case, is creating serious health issues when a human is enduring a stressful state for long durations of time.

The endocrine system additionally initiates a stress response, which occurs when the brain begins a chain of events, including the thalamic axis; that is, an individual considering a situation demanding or unmanageable. It causes an increase in the synthesis of steroid hormones known as glucocorticoids, which include cortisol, dubbed the “stress hormone” by many (Straub, 2016). As a result, all the above biological system significantly influences the amount of stress one experiences, which causes various psychological issues.


In conclusion, studying the relationship between physiological and psychological illness is an essential factor. Furthermore, I was primarily interested in the biopsychosocial model described in the textbook. According to its idea, measuring behavioral intention, which means choosing to engage in or refrain from health-related conduct, is the best approach to predicting whether a healthy habit will occur. The reason for that is the overall picture of one’s condition, which includes different factors, such as attitude toward the behavior, the subjective norm and perceived behavioral control (Straub, 2016). Such a broad retrospective on one’s health appears to have the highest potential to expand and become and independent scientific construct.


Straub, R. O. (2016). Health psychology: A biopsychosocial approach. Macmillian Learning.

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