Stress in the Modern World: Understanding Science and Society. Edited by Serena Wadhwa. Santa Barbara, CA: Greenwood, 2017. 2 vols. Acid free $189 (ISBN 978-1-61069-606-7). E-book available (978-1-61096-607-4), call for pricing.

Stress in the Modern World: Understanding Science and Society is a two-volume reference set that looks at a wide array of aspects of stress. It looks at the impact stress has on both physical and psychological health. It offers both theoretical and practical perspectives. It “presents a variety of theories, external and internal triggers of the stress experience, and both effective and ineffective coping mechanisms” (xvi).

Stress in the Modern World: Understanding Science and Society is composed of four parts. Part 1 details theories of stress, part 2 looks at sources of stress, part 3 covers responses to stress, and part 4 features personal accounts. This last part is what truly makes this source unique. Each chapter ends with a summary and an extensive list of references and further reading. It was written by fifty-two writers, nearly all of which are “professional mental health counselors and therapists or university faculty who instruct students in the mental health fields” (xiii).

Part 1 explores many different theories of stress as well as misconceptions about stress. It also discusses the effects of stress on the mind and body. Part 1 ends with exploring aspects of stress assessment and measurement. Part 2 covers sources of stress. While this can vary significantly from individual to individual, it covers the most significant sources of stress, for example, financial, caregiving stress, sexuality concerns, and work issues, just to name a few. Part 3 then delves into responses to stress. It focuses both on the effective and ineffective methods individuals use to cope with stress. Also discussed are trends for current and future ways to manage stress. One chapter in this part discusses certain psychological stress disorders and with some research on the disorders. As mentioned earlier, part 4 is what really makes this resource unique. It features twenty personal essays by “real individuals describing their stress, their response to stress, and how they’ve learned to cope with stress in their lives” (xiii).

I compared Stress in the Modern World: Understanding Science and Society to two other reference sources. Encyclopedia of Stress (Elsevier/Academic, 2007) and Ada P. Kahn’s The Encyclopedia of Stress and Stress Related Diseases (Facts on File, 2006). The former is a three-volume set of more than five hundred articles. This set seems to be written from more of a medical perspective. The latter is a single-volume resource that is also an alphabetic listing. This source also contains entries around contemporary issues that contribute to stress. I would recommend Stress in the Modern World: Understanding Science and Society over the other two sources for both undergraduate academic libraries and public libraries. This source details how stress affects both physical and mental health in a concise, easy to understand way.—Mina Chercourt, Head of Cataloging and Metadata, Grasselli Library and Breen Learning Center, John Carroll University, University Heights, Ohio


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