Copyright © 2017 American Scientific Publishers All rights reserved. The properties of the electronic structure of a finite-barrier semiconductor multiple quantum well are investigated taking into account the effects of the application of a static electric field and hydrostatic pressure. With the information of the allowed quasi-stationary energy states, the coefficients of linear and nonlinear optical absorption and of the relative refractive index change associated to transitions between allowed subbands are calculated with the use of a two-level scheme for the density matrix equation of motion and the rotating wave approximation. It is noticed that the hydrostatic pressure enhances the amplitude of the nonlinear contribution to the optical response of the multiple quantum well, whilst the linear one becomes reduced. Besides, the calculated coefficients are blueshifted due to the increasing of the applied electric field, and shows systematically dependence upon the hydrostatic pressure. The comparison of these results with those related with the consideration of a stationary spectrum of states in the heterostructure-obtained by placing infinite confining barriers at a conveniently far distance-shows essential differences in the pressure-induced effects in the sense of resonant frequency shifting as well as in the variation of the amplitudes of the optical responses.