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Understanding chronic stress: a narrative review of literature


Gayan Buddhika Senanayake ,

University of Queensland, AU
About Gayan Buddhika
Centre for Online Health
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Carukshi Arambepola

University of Colombo, LK
About Carukshi
Department of Community Medicine, Faculty of
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Though commonly used to describe the ‘emotions’ in daily life, stress is a scientifically valued concept which has slowly evolved since the late 1970s to become a vital area of research interest, expanding its scope in relation to humans, animals, and plants. In today’s context, chronic stress is identified as one of the main determinants of physical and mental disorders.


The concept of chronic stress has a complex diversity and several multi-dimensional constructs. There had always been controversies on the mechanism and measurement of chronic stress, leading to confusion and disagreement among the scientific community, hence the slow progression in research related to chronic stress. These fundamental deficiencies and the emerging public interest were recognised in the early 1980s by the United States National Research Council and as a result, several organizations such as the International Institute of Stress in Montreal and Hans Selye Foundation were established to uplift the research work on stress. The first World Congress on stress was held in 1994 during which the current issues pertaining to stress were discussed extensively. A narrative review of the literature was conducted to explore the concept of chronic stress using several electronic databases.
How to Cite: Senanayake, G.B. and Arambepola, C., 2019. Understanding chronic stress: a narrative review of literature. Journal of the College of Community Physicians of Sri Lanka, 25(1), pp.30–36. DOI:
Published on 05 Jun 2019.
Peer Reviewed


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