This paper summarizes some of the highlights of our current social stress research in rodents as it was inspired by the work of Jim Henry. First, it is argued that social defeat can be considered as one of the most severe stressors among a number of laboratory stressful stimuli in terms of neuroendocrine activation. Moreover, the stress response induced by defeat in particular is characterized by a strong sympathetic dominance. Depending on the stress parameter, the stress response induced by a single social defeat may last from hours to days and weeks. As a long term consequence of a single defeat experience, the animal becomes sensitized to subsequent minor stressors. Finally, the importance of individual differences in coping style in relation to stress vulnerability is discussed.