Since 2007, the American Psychological Association (APA) has conducted nationwide surveys relating to stress. In this Sharepost, focusing on the findings made between August-September 2011, I’m pinpointing just a few of the noteworthy findings amongst increasing concerns over the relationship between stress and chronic diseases.
Caregivers: The National Alliance for Caregiving estimate that nearly 66 million Americans served as caregivers for an ill or disabled person in 2009. Caregiver stress, on average, is much higher than reported by the general public, with 55 percent of caregivers saying they become overwhelmed by the amount of care they have to provide. By 2030, the number of Americans age 65 and older is expected to double to 72 million and of course this will compound caregiver stress. Interestingly however, caregivers were more likely than the general population to say they are doing a reasonable job in practicing healthy behaviors, including stress management.
Younger Americans Most Stressed: Results from a self-report of perceived stress shows that the older we get the less likely we are to perceive stress and the focus of our stress changes. Younger Americans are mostly concerned over money and work, whereas older Americans cited their families’ health problems as a source of stress. On a stress scale of 1 to 10, those aged 18-32 had an average rating of 5.4. In ages 33-46, the average score was 5.6. Scores reduced to 4.9 for those aged 47-65 and were slightly less in the 66 plus age range, at 4.5.
Easterners Most Stressed: Easterners are exercising less than they used to and report being less able at managing their stress. 24 percent of Westerners report exercising daily compared with 5 percent in the East and South and 3 percent in the Midwest. Easterners are more likely to say they are too busy and stressed to make positive lifestyle changes.
Men: Men are less likely to acknowledge that stress can have an effect on their health and less likely to do something about it. Despite the fact that men are more likely to be diagnosed with conditions associated with stress they are less inclined to make lifestyle or behavioral changes to reduce stress.
Other People: The great majority of American adults believe that stress can contribute to the development of some major disease like diabetes, heart disease, depression and eating problems. Interestingly 31 percent felt stress would have little or no impact on their own physical health and 36 percent on their own mental health. Coupled with the fact that only 29 percent of adults believe they are doing a good job at managing or reducing their stress the APA warns this disconnect is a real cause for concern.
Read or download the Stress in America survey.