Stuart Stress Adaptation Model


Stuart Stress Adaptation Model is a model of of psychiatric nursing care, which integrates biological, psychological, sociocultural, environmental, and legal-ethical aspects of patient care into a unified framework for practice.
The Stuart Stress Adaptation Model of health and wellness provides a consistent nursing-oriented framework (Stuart, 2009).


“Nature is ordered as a social hierarchy from the simplest unit to the most complex and the individual is a part of family, group, community, society, and the larger biosphere.”
“Nursing care is provided within a biological, psychological, sociocultural, environmental, and legal-ethical context.”
Health/illness and adaptation/maladaptation (nursing world view) are two distinct continuums.
The model includes the primary, secondary, and tertiary levels of prevention by describing four discrete stages of psychiatric treatment: crisis, acute, maintenance, and health promotion.
Nursing care is based on the use of the nursing process and the standards of care and professional performance for psychiatric nurses.


Biopsychosocial approach – a holistic perspective that integrates biological, psychological, and sociocultural aspects of care.
Predisposing factors -risk factors such as genetic background.
Precipitating stressors – stimuli that the person perceives as challenging such as life events.
Appraisal of stressor – an evaluation of the significance of a stressor.
Coping resources – options or strategies that help determine what can be done as well as what is at stake.
Adaptation/maladaptation –
Levels of Prevention
Four stages of psychiatric treatment & nursing care
Crisis stage
Acute stage
Maintenance stage
Health promotion stage


Stuart Stress Adaptation Model can be used across psychiatric settings.
This model is based on standards of psychiatric nursing care and professional performance.


Stuart GW. (2009). Principles and Practice of Psychiatric Nursing, 10th Edition Stuart – Mosby Elsevier, Missouri.
Theorist’s page

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