Vulnerability-Stress Model (aka Stress-Vulnerability Model)

The vulnerability-stress model (also known as stress-vulnerability model) is an examination of what causes psychiatric illness and what makes some people more vulnerable to psychiatric illnesses than others. It is generally agreed that stress levels are the most important factor but that stress interacts differently in persons that already have an emotional predisposition (genetics, prenatal nutrition and stress, birth complications, and early experiences in childhood) and/or a genetic predisposition (bipolar disorder, major depression, schizophrenia, or anxiety disorders) to a psychiatric illness.

Added into this model is the influence that drug and alcohol use can have when added to stress levels and predispositions along with coping skills, social support, and participation in meaningful activities such as work, parenting, school, and home life.

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