Stress and mental health: a biobehavioral perspective

Issues Ment Health Nurs. 2000 Mar;21(2):185-202. doi: 10.1080/016128400248185.


The influence of stress on all aspects of health and the importance of understanding the complex interaction of the mind and body has increasingly become an issue of worldwide concern. This article offers an overview of the stress response, emphasizing the interdependence of the neurobiological components--neurologic, neuroendocrine, and endocrine axes--with emotional, behavioral, and cognitive responses. Common measurements of stress are presented, including instruments that assess stressors, cognitive/affective dimensions, biological systems, and allostatic load. Understanding the role of perceived stress and the relationship between biological and psychosocial dimensions of stress and mental disorders expands the potential for effective interventions by mental health nurses.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Attitude to Health
  • Cost of Illness
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders / etiology
  • Mental Disorders / nursing
  • Mental Health*
  • Neurosecretory Systems / physiopathology*
  • Psychiatric Nursing
  • Psychophysiology
  • Risk Factors
  • Stress, Psychological / diagnosis
  • Stress, Psychological / nursing
  • Stress, Psychological / physiopathology*
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology*