The August issue of NTM Zeitschrift für Geschichte der Wissenschaften, Technik und Medizin is available online. It presents, among other things, a piece by Lea Haller entitled Stress, Cortison und Homöostase. The abstract reads:
This article investigates the emergence of the concept of stress in the 1930s and outlines its changing disciplinary and conceptual frames up until 1960. Originally stress was a physiological concept applied to the hormonal regulation of the body under stressful conditions. Correlated closely with chemical research into corticosteroids for more than a decade, the stress concept finally became a topic in cognitive psychology. One reason for this shift of the concept to another discipline was the fact that the hormones previously linked to the stress concept were successfully transferred from laboratory to medical practice and adopted by disciplines such as rheumatology and dermatology. Thus the stress concept was dissociated from its hormonal context and became a handy formula that allowed postindustrial society to conceive of stress as a matter of individual concern. From a physiological phenomenon stress turned into an object of psychological discourse and individual coping strategies.