The 5 key factors in stress


For over 20 years, psychologists have used a five factor model to talk to people about their mental and physical health. This model, called Padesky’s 5-factor model was devised by researchers Padesky and Mooney in 1990.

Those five factors are:



All the things around you that impact on your life, i.e. family, work, financial demands, friends etc, but also your past environments and memories.


How your body functions in terms of health, appetite, energy levels, physical tension, sleep, sex drive, etc.


How you think about things, the interpretations you make, ‘I can handle this,’ vs. ‘I can’t cope’.  Your beliefs and assumptions about yourself, the world, and other people. Your assessment of risk. Your habitual patterns of limited thinking.


What your general mood is like (which can typically be described in one word: happy, sad, anxious, worried, joyful, excited, guilty, shameful, cheerful, frustrated, hopeful, hopeless, compassionate, angry, hostile, etc.)


What you actually do:  exercise, overwork, take medications, talk to others, withdraw, quit smoking, overeat, ‘take to the bed’, ask for help, refuse to ask for help, look for information, avoid conflict, etc.

Read Gary’s story to see how these 5 factors interact in a real life scenario.



bookMind Over Mood by Padesky and Greenberger (1995,2015)

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