In 1981, Leonard Pearlin and his colleagues published an article that would ra- cally shift the sociological study of mental health from an emphasis on psychiatric disorder to a focus on social structure and its consequences for stress and psyc- logical distress. Pearlin et al. (1981) proposed a deceptively simple conceptual model that has now influenced sociological inquiry for almost three decades. With his characteristic penchant for reconsidering and elaborating his own ideas, Pearlin has revisited the stress process model periodically over the years (Pearlin 1989, 1999; Pearlin et al. 2005; Pearlin and Skaff 1996). One of the consequences of this continued theoretical elaboration of the stress process has been the development of a sociological model of stress that embraces the complexity of social life. Another consequence is that the stress process has continued to stimulate a host of empirical investigations in the sociology of mental health. Indeed, it is no exaggeration to suggest that the stress process paradigm has been primarily responsible for the growth and sustenance of sociological research on stress and mental health. Pearlin et al. (1981) described the core elements of the stress process in a brief paragraph: The process of social stress can be seen as combining three major conceptual domains: the sources of stress, the mediators of stress, and the manifestations of stress. Each of these extended domains subsumes a variety of subparts that have been intensively studied in recent years.
Interdisciplinary examination of the stress process, its methodology, and applications
Provides new directions for stress process research, from contributors who are leading researchers in their respective fields
First of its kind within the past decade to comprehensively examine the state of stress process research and its developments