Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario

Crisis Defined

  • A crisis is a time-limited response to a life event that overwhelms a person’s usual coping mechanisms
  • It occurs as a response to situational, developmental, biological, psychological, socio-cultural, and/or spiritual factors
  • Crisis can be classified in three categories (1) developmental or maturation, (2) situational, and (3) disaster or adventitious
    • Developmental or maturation crisis: May occur during a developmental stage in life where physical, cognitive, instinctual and sexual changes create an internal conflict within a person that triggers a crisis (for instance, leaving home during late adolescence, marriage, birth of a child, death of a parent)
    • Situation crisis: Response to events that are external and unanticipated, such as loss or change of a job, death of a loved one, experience of a sudden illness
    • Disaster or adventitious crisis: Results from events that are not a part of everyday life (such as natural disasters or violent crimes
Addiction and Mental Health
Crisis Intervention
Background Information