Over the last few years, the term stress and its causes have drawn so much interest. The term stress itself can be historically seen as a rediscovery of the concept which has developed over a number of centuries (Cassidy, 1999, cited in Cooper & Dewe, 2004). In addition, some authors stressed that the term evolved with the feeling of pressure, strain and hardships associated with the 17th and 18th centuries and that what people feel today has been exactly the same centuries over the years (Hinckle, 1973, cited in Cooper & Dewe, 2004). Therefore, the condition has always been there. However, the study of stress has gathered momentum with many different definitions with a typical one describing the concept as the emotional and physiological responses to circumstances that are too difficult to cope with or to solve and which one has no choice but to endure them (1). This essay will aim at discussing causes and effects of stress as well as the factors triggering stressful feelings, while drawing on opinions and theories of major psychologists and researchers in the field.
To begin with, stress can be caused by a number or a combination of psychological and physical elements such as pollution, crowding, or noise pollution also referred to as stressors (McEtarffer & Weseley, 2007). When it comes to crowding, although many people find it enjoyable to have a crowd in a concert or football match, others can be psychologically affected by large numbers of people (lesson: causes). This fear of density was further shown in studies by Sundstrom (1978) who found that people were less friendly and more aggressive in cities and Pandey (1999) who surveyed an Indian town and concluded that people in cities have less control on their lives and led a less comfortable life than those in less dense areas.
On the other hand, Evans (2001) addressed the effects of traffic noise on children to show the extent of damage done by noise pollution. Many people suffer from noise whether it is caused by neighbours, traffic, or any activity that may cause the body to react in an unpleasant way. In his study, Evans was able to show that children exposed to higher levels of neighbourhood noise (60 or more decibels) experienced increased blood pressure and raised levels of stress indicators (cortisol and adrenalin) than those less exposed (less than 50 decibels). In addition, the respondents especially girls of the noise affected category showed lack of motivation and depression due to their helplessness to change the circumstances. This is known as ‘learned helplessness syndrome’, which is the inability to react to situations and the absence of control on the environment (lesson 3) as well as the belief that events are beyond one’s control (Weiten, 2008). As a result, people feel uncomfortable and motivated and further negative repercussions may arise such as nervousness and anxiety and possible traumatisation.
Moreover, the architecture as a physical aspect can be another...