Stress appraisal is a construct designed to account for readily observable individual differences in stress responses to similar stressors. Observing that individuals varied greatly in their psychological reactions to potentially traumatic experiences, Richard S. Lazarus proposed that psychological stress was not a reaction to one’s objective circumstances but, rather, that an individual’s stress response was based on an evaluation, or appraisal, of what the circumstances implied for his or her personal well-being. Psychological stress results when an individual appraises the demands of his or her circumstances as taxing or exceeding his or her resources for coping with the situation. Although much of the scientific literature on appraisal and stress emphasizes stress as resulting when the demands of one’s situation are appraised as exceeding one’s coping ...

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