The American Psychological Association is the top source of stress statistics for the USA. Here are some interesting findings from their report for 2011.
Stress Statistics By Region
There are many stereotypes about people from the different regions of the US, but are they true? When it comes to stress, the APA's 2011 report of stress statistics suggests that perhaps they are.
Their latest survey shows that people living on the east coast report the highest levels of stress, as well as having the most trouble handling stress. Midwesterners have reported increasing stress levels over the last few years but are more likely to seek help for it – perhaps because they do not consider it an inevitable part of life the way that Easterners do. Southerners handle stress pretty well and Westerners are the least stressed of Americans.
Stress Statistics By Gender
Who is under more stress, men or women? It is hard to say. Traditionally, women remained at home while men worked, but staying at home juggling children and household responsibilities, often on a small budget, is not an easy option. These days, many women have to hold down a job as well as doing these tasks.
Stress is not easy to measure. Women do report higher stress levels than men, but this may be only because women are less likely to deny that they are suffering from stress. Many men report that they consider that saying they are stressed would be an admission of weakness or failure.
So in order to measure stress, the APA takes symptoms of stress into account. Men and women are approximately equally happy, with 65% of men and 66% of women saying that they are generally satisfied with their lives. 45% of men and 44% of women are happy with their financial situation.
However, only 50% of men say that they are handling their family relationships well, versus 62% of women. 27% of men say that they are eating healthy, versus 37% of women. And only 23% of men consider that they are getting enough sleep, versus 31% of women. Men also consider stress management less important than women do, with only 52% of men considering it very important or extremely important, versus 62% of women. Since all of these factors can contribute to chronic stress, this may mean that more men are suffering from stress than women.
Other Factors Affecting Stress Statistics
Of course, there are many factors affecting stress in America. One of these is the fact that the population is aging. Longer lifespans and the fact that the baby boomer generation is now beginning to reach senior citizenship are combining to produce the biggest ever proportions of elderly people over the next decades. The number of people over 65 in the USA is expected to double in the 20 years from 2010 to 2030. Of course, we hope that these people will also enjoy better health than seniors have done in the past, but large numbers of them will require care from family members.
For most people, life as a senior citizen is less stressful than life as a young or middle aged adult. However, being a caregiver to an elderly person has been shown to be a major cause of stress as well as other psychological issues. So this increase in our elderly population will probably add to the stress statistics in the next two decades.
You can find more details of these stress statistics on the APA's website at www.apa.org