Women Most Stressed by Financial Downturn
Almost everyone has concerns about the state of the Nation's economy but results from a recent Stress survey, released by the American Psychological Association, shows women are feeling the most stressed.
Almost half of the 7,000 Americans who responded to a survey say they are increasingly stressed about their ability to provide the basics for their family. Eighty percent cited the economy as a significant stressor. Women say they are more stressed about money, the economy, job stability, housing costs and health problems affecting their families.
Women between the ages of 44 to 60 + seem to feel the greatest emotional strain. Women in general are more likely to report physical symptoms associated with stress - for example headaches, sadness, irritability, fatigue.
Compared to this time last year, nearly half of all adults reported an increase in their perceived level of stress. More people report fatigue (53 percent compared with 51 percent) and more report irritability and anger (60 percent compared with 50 percent in 2007).
Katherine Nordal, Ph.D., the APA's executive director for professional practice, says, "with the deteriorating economy dominating the headlines, it's easy to worry more about your finances than your health, but, stress over money and the economy is taking an emotional and physical toll on America, especially among women."
The APA say the worst thing people can do is to ignore their stress symptoms. People need to more vigilant of the emotional and physical symptoms of stress which can include sleep loss, emotional changes, stomach and intestinal upsets, nervousness and worry. Dr Nordal suggests that support from others is highly effective in helping to cope with stress, so reach out to trusted advisors, family and friends.
Because stress affects health and coping behaviors it is important to monitor activities associated with unhealthy coping strategies. These include skipping meals, overeating or eating unhealthy foods. Women reported they were more likely to nap, eat poorly, shop, drink alcohol and smoke during times of stress.
Barbara Gault, vice president and director of research at the Institute for Women's Policy Research is quoted by CNN as saying women, "are more stressed out because they are less economically secure than men", she went on to say, "Many women are one divorce away from poverty. Women have more to worry about in terms of economic security and are more likely to be poor in old age than men."
The Stress in America research was conducted online during April 2008 and between June 23, 2008 and August 13, 2008. September data were collected between September 19 and September 23, 2008.
American Psychological Association, 2008