Top Source of Stress For Americans? Money

The American Psychological Association recently released the results of the latest annual Stress in America survey.  The APA has been conducting the survey since 2007 to assess stress across the country and understand its impact. The survey measures attitudes and perceptions of stress among the general public and identifies leading sources of stress, common behaviors used to manage stress, and the impact of stress on the lives of Americans.

The 2014 survey indicates that average reported stress levels are down (4.9 on a 10-point scale, compared with 6.2 in 2007), but some groups are not feeling much relief and for them, stress is mostly related to money:

  • Women report higher stress levels than men, and the gender stress gap is growing. "Thirty percent of women in the survey said they feel stress about money all or most of the time, compared with 21 percent for men. In a finding that will surprise no one, women were more likely than men to say stress affects their eating, with 41 percent saying they've eaten too much or had unhealthy food during the past month because of stress; for men it's 24 percent."
  • Young Americans (Millennials and GenXers) reported higher stress levels than other generations, mostly related to finances.
  • Parents of children under age 18 are more stressed out than non-parents.  Money is also a significant source of stress for them.
  • Unsurprisingly, lower-income respondents reported higher levels of stress than their better off counterparts. Like the gender stress gap, the income stress gap is growing.

To lower their stress, Americans tend to watch television and surf the Internet.

The report concludes that "[a]lthough survey findings show that average stress levels have decreased since 2007, many Americans say they struggle to achieve their healthy living goals and that important health behaviors like eating and sleeping are affected by stress. Only a small percentage say their stress has actually decreased this past year."

Read more: resources:
Racial Disparities in Health Care: A Data-Driven Learning Guide (
Chronic Disease Indicator (
BRFSS: Prevalence Data and Data Analysis Tools (
Social Class and Health: A Data-Driven Learning Guide (
Racial Disparities in Mental Health: A Data-Driven Learning Guide (
Frederique Laubepin

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