Send to

Choose Destination
Int J Nurs Terminol Classif. 2006 Oct-Dec;17(4):165-75.

Stress overload: a new diagnosis.

Author information

Department of Nursing, Staten Island, NY, USA.



To describe the phenomenon of stress overload as a nursing diagnosis.


A qualitative study using case study method was conducted with nine adults experiencing stress overload to fully describe the experience and identify possible defining characteristics. Current literature sources on stress and its related factors were examined to support stress overload as a nursing diagnosis for inclusion in the NANDA International classification.


Stress overload, defined as excessive amounts and types of demands that require action, is a human response that is experienced as a problem and contributes to the development of other problems. The proposed defining characteristics are perceives situational stress as excessive, expresses a feeling of tension or pressure, expresses difficulty in functioning as usual, expresses problems with decision-making, demonstrates increased feelings of anger and impatience, and reports negative effects from stress such as physical symptoms or psychological distress.


Nursing interventions such as active listening and decision-making support are needed to help people reduce stress levels. Studies are needed to further validate the defining characteristics and related factors of this new diagnosis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wiley
Loading ...
Support Center