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Cognitive activation theory of stress—how are individual experiences mediated into biological systems?

Author(s): Silje Endresen Reme | Hege R Eriksen | Holger Ursin

Journal: SJWEH Supplements
ISSN 1795-9926

Issue: 6;
Start page: 177;
Date: 2008;
Original page

Keywords: stress | coping | expectancy | working life | prevention | rehabilitation | stress theory | therapy | worklife | cognitive activation theory | cognitive activation theory of stress | individual experience | biological system | cognitive activation

The cognitive activation theory of stress (CATS) offers a psychobiological explanation for the relationship between life events, from hassles in worklife to dramatic events, and individual health. It differs from other prevalent stress theories by offering a formal system of systematic definitions, it relies on cognitive formulations within learning theory, it offers a consistent pathophysiological model for health and disease, and it is valid across species and cultures. The aim of this paper was to compare CATS with other prevalent theories with respect to the relationships between worklife and health. The main concern was the comparison with the demand–control theory of Karasek & Theorell. A brief review is presented of interventions based on CATS positions, in particular interventions aimed at modifying patients’ expectations, as well as at attempts to prevent illness and disease in the working population.
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