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Stress reactivity refers to the physiological and psychological response to stressors. The human stress response developed to manage threats to physical safety and survival, and as such, a large part of the stress reaction involves preparing the body physiologically for “fight or flight.” However, modern human stressors are more often psychological and chronic, such as social or emotional threats, and so considering psychological distress that occurs as a consequence of stress is particularly important. Moreover, although the aspects of the physiological stress response are universal, individuals clearly differ in their typical levels of stress reactivity. Some consider stress reactivity to be a traitlike characteristic. There is evidence for predictable and stable physiological and emotional responses to stress within an individual over time. Those who ...

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