The paper is able to identify defining attributes by their unique presence in certain concepts as opposed to others. In the case of psychological distress, the author is able to distinguish five attributes, including a perceived inability to cope, change in emotional status, discomfort, communication of said discomfort, and harm (Ridner, 2004). Each attribute is discerned by a number of signs within a patient. For example, an individual who perceives their coping with being ineffective or that no solution exists for their stressor may be experiencing psychological stress. Changes in emotional states may be characterized by the emergence of demotivation, aggressiveness, self-depreciation, depression, irritability, or anxiety over an emotional baseline. While feelings of misery, anguish, and suffering are subjective, they are grouped into the attribute of discomfort in the paper. Communication manifests in a variety of ways, from facial expressions to specific behaviors. Harm is derived from physical, psychological, and social issues individuals may be experiencing.
The paper defines psychological stress as a state that is unique, discomforting, and emotional which appears in response to specific stressors and results in either permanent or temporary harm. The definition offered by the author is more descriptive than in a variety of other texts and is, therefore, better applicable to real-life cases. The indication of the effects of the harm is important in understanding the gravity that psychological distress can have on some individuals. Additionally, the distinct attributes can offer deeper insight into the type of distress an individual is feeling. This is seen in the cases analyzed in the paper, with the definition being able to distinguish model and borderline cases of psychological distress. As such, I find the definition to be practical and effective.
Ridner, S. H. (2004). Psychological distress: concept analysis. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 45(5), 536-545.