Stressors: Physical


This entry describes the measurement of physical environmental stressors and design elements that affect human well-being. We discuss stressors encountered in both outdoor and indoor environments, including residential and work settings.

First, we will describe the three most commonly recognized environmental stressors—noise, crowding and air quality (see Table 1) (Evans, 1999). Second, we will discuss measures of overall housing or building quality. Finally, we will describe specific design characteristics that may have an impact on health or well-being. These features include floor height, architectural depth, and characteristics of floor plan (e.g. enclosure and proximity).


Exposure to noise has been empirically linked to both auditory and non-auditory effects. Non-auditory effects of noise include physiological detriments (increased heart rate or blood pressure), low motivation, and poor cognitive or attentional ...

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