Fit for survival? : a study of stress in the working classes of Scotland in the nineteenth century
This thesis looks at the information available on the concept of stress today and relates the findings to national and personal events, which affected the Scottish working class in the nineteenth century. As people's perception of events affects their reaction to them, relevant information was gleaned from many personal accounts of misery, hardship and distress, and the descriptions and the effects of the events taken as a measure of whether such happenings were regarded as stressful for individuals. Such circumstances are outlined and compared to those recognized as having significance today. The effects of such events on the lives of the nineteenth century working class are examined. The more severe negative effects of stress, both physical and emotional are detailed, and other negative solutions discussed, along with the state of the medical knowledge of the time. The reasons for some people's negative reactions to stressful events are investigated, and the reality is acknowledged that not everyone, who was subject to such events, reacted in the same way. Comparisons of the extent of this information between the nineteenth and twenty-first centuries are made. For those who dealt better with the effects of stress, a variety of available solutions were followed. In the light of modern day research, it is possible to explain why many of these solutions were successful.