• Welcome to Phoenix Rising!

    Created in 2008, Phoenix Rising is the largest and oldest forum dedicated to furthering the understanding of and finding treatments for complex chronic illnesses such as chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS), fibromyalgia (FM), long COVID, postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS), mast cell activation syndrome (MCAS), and allied diseases.

    To become a member, simply click the Register button at the top right.

The Secret History Behind The Science Of Stress


Senior Member
This is absolutly fascinating.

It involves Big Tobacco and for me, as I would think for others it''s new information. Who would have thought, the research about stress and type A behavior was started by Big Tobacco and for nefarious reasons.

The thing most people don't realize as they worry over the dangers of stress, Petticrew says, is that much of this foundational scientific research on stress was funded and guided by a very particular sponsor.

"What's never really been appreciated is that the tobacco industry was a major funder and stimulant of research on stress," he says. "Specifically Selye's work, but also research on Type A behavior. Type A personality is to a large extent a construct of the tobacco industry


While, I'm not sure if this invaladates all research on stress, the article is not only eye opening but also a refreshing look at reseach about stress and the fact that it may not be as big a contributor to health as previously thought.

It will be interesting to see how if this impacts, if any, future studies or how the medical profession views "stress related illnesses.




Senior Member

Also, I know a really big UK psychiatrist who also played an important role in promoting 'evidence based' behavioural interventions, Hans Eysenck, was involved in similar stuff: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/eysenck-took-pounds-800000-tobacco-funds-1361007.html

Eysenck often reminds me of Wessely, but without the weaselling.

A lot of the research around 'personality' seems pretty dodgy to me.

Small correction - Eysenck was a psychologist, not a psychiatrist (ie not a medical doctor).


Senior Member
San Francisco
The Type A stuff and its linkage to heart disease has been debunked. Also stuff about personality and cancer, and behavioral therapies and cancer. Consider--everyone's going to die, and those are two principal exits, so there are going to be a lot of personality types using the same doors.

I believe Selye's work was limited to physiological stress, not what we today call "stress".

He did lots of good work--he was obviously not a total shill for Big Tobacco. These days, many if not most scientific publications request that authors reveal their source of funds.
Last edited: