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Stress in America

By Rob Stein

In case there was any doubt, a new survey shows that Americans are stressed out.

The American Psychological Association conducted an online survey of 1,134 adults ages 18 and older from Aug. 3 to Aug. 27, including 100 adults who were parents of children ages 8 to 17. In addition to the national sample, the association surveyed another 937 adult parents. The report also includes the results of another online survey from Aug. 19 to Aug. 24 of 1,136 young people ages 8 to 17.

The survey found that a majority of Americans--51 percent--are living with "moderate" stress, which is a stress level of four to seven on a scale of one to 10. Although that's about the same level of stress as the survey found last year, fewer adults reported being satisfied with how their employer helps employees balance work and non-work.Twenty-four percent say they are experiencing severe stress.

Not surprisingly, money, work and the economy are the leading causes of stress, and job stability is on the rise as a source of stress. Nearly half of adults reported that job stability was a source of stress, compared with 44 percent in 2009.

While most parents don't think their children are strongly affected by their stress, their children report otherwise. Nearly three-quarters of parents say that their stress has only a slight or no impact on their children. But 91 percent of children report they know their parent is stressed.

What stress can do to your body. (American Psychological Association)

The report also measured the stress levels of specific metropolitan areas, including the District. On average, D.C. residents reported a stress level of 5.3 on a 10-point scale, which is actually slightly lower than the 5.6 reported in 2009 and 6.0 reported in 2008.

See the interactive graphic of what stress can do to your body here.

By Rob Stein  | November 9, 2010; 2:31 PM ET
Categories:  Psychology, Stress  
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Many thanks to all who gave us "the new world order."

Posted by: bigisle | November 9, 2010 3:33 PM | Report abuse

We need a poll to figure this out?

Posted by: Frazil | November 9, 2010 3:38 PM | Report abuse

What insight the Post has...maybe they can tell us why the sky is blue.More trivial nonsense.

Posted by: chuckcoley | November 9, 2010 3:43 PM | Report abuse

What insight the Post has...maybe they can tell us why the sky is blue.More trivial nonsense.

Posted by: chuckcoley | November 9, 2010 3:43 PM | Report abuse

that is what happens when a national psyche is based on government propaganda,and when changes in the world(the only constant is change)affect their false perceptionthose that based their well being on the propaganda,...will undoubtedly get migraines.

Posted by: kiler616 | November 9, 2010 3:49 PM | Report abuse

They've been dumping more and more work on the Middle Class ever since the 60s. It got brutal in the 80s, when the term
downsizing' was invented. No one has done anything in Washington to help the working class for several decades.

Is there a better model? Yes. Europe. Not that Europe is by any means perfect, but Europe treats workers better than they do in the US.

Posted by: samsara15 | November 9, 2010 4:00 PM | Report abuse

Lets see, the economy is not so hot, unemployment is high, people are getting pay cuts or fired, and everything is getting more expensive. No duh everybody is stressed.

Posted by: futbolclif | November 9, 2010 4:03 PM | Report abuse

Gee why am I stressed? Let's see, no job, no insurance, no prospects or hope for the future....

Actually pointing out the effects of stress on children is beneficial. I'm not sure why so many parents think of children as mentally challenged deaf midgets, but they're not! They can hear you when you talk and can understand what you're saying and are probably a lot more stressed out than parents realize.

Posted by: hebe1 | November 9, 2010 4:07 PM | Report abuse

D'ya think? Wonder why?

Uh, private jobs eliminted, offshored, or given to illegals and H1B holders. Pensions eliminated in private sector and targeted in public. SS, Medicare reduced. Pay reduced (except for BO, GWB, and Snoburbia). Prices up in reality. Inflation "too low" says Bernanke. Banks borrow at Zero Percent but credit cards are at 15%. Billionaires pay 15% tax but their secretary pays 25%. We pay 600K to a dairy farmer in govt money to push cheese, while we pay 50K to a "gubmint" worker to say it's too fatty. We are going to cut govt jobs. We already cut private jobs. And, we give tax breaks to Republican businesses and Democratic donors alike.

Hmmm. Why be stressed? The Harvard types have it ALL figured out for us. The Top 1% agree with the lower 48% who don't pay income tax.

Why work? It's too much stress.

Posted by: fdffdfd | November 9, 2010 4:07 PM | Report abuse

If there were a publication called DUH! Magazine, this would be the cover story.

Posted by: bucinka8 | November 9, 2010 4:10 PM | Report abuse

Of course we are stressed out with the medial blasting away with sensationalism emphasizing every thing from food to traveling to housing etcs. In the mean time the government spending being out of control and the threat of terrorism is behind every one's mind. Fighting between the conservatives and liberals doesn't help either. We are living in hell if there is one. Money is not the reason but the general attitude of 21 century is doing us in.

Posted by: chaemoondriver | November 9, 2010 4:17 PM | Report abuse

No sh&t Sherlock.

Posted by: Insert_Name_Here | November 9, 2010 4:18 PM | Report abuse

Turn to apathy. Only through apathy can you know true inner peace.

Posted by: Capn0ok | November 9, 2010 4:30 PM | Report abuse

What else is new? Two corrupt, bankrupt Parties. A broken Government, a corrupt and brolen Finacial sector sucking in the middle class's assets. An irrelevant Presidency unable to pass a significant agenda and a corrupt, politicized Supreme Court. America owes its jockstraps and a Fed keeps covering it all up by printing more and more funny money. End of story.

Posted by: lionelroger | November 9, 2010 5:00 PM | Report abuse

But you're talking "good" stress, right?

Posted by: shadowmagician | November 9, 2010 5:17 PM | Report abuse

All but the wealthy in America have been on a downward slide since Reagan introduced the idiocy of supply side economics - of course the bulk of the population is stressed out!

Posted by: rapchat1 | November 9, 2010 6:29 PM | Report abuse

You think were stressed now, just let the Republicans take control of power in this country. I don't recall all this stress when Clinton ran the country, then Bush took over and were still trying to get out of the devastation he left. Only a complete idiot would believe what the Republicans are pushing, their seems to be more than a few of them.

Posted by: shipfreakbo214 | November 9, 2010 6:34 PM | Report abuse

I must be in the minority. I'm not stressed at all. My bills are paid, I put a hefty chunk into savings each month, I have a great job--- in other words, I live within my means-- I didn't go spending crazy like most everyone boohooing and crying that they are in debt or upside down in their mortgage. No pity here. I know others out there didn't go spending and credit crazy either. It's good not to be stressed.

Posted by: Aimhigh2000 | November 9, 2010 6:35 PM | Report abuse

if you are NOT

stressed out

with the obama incompetence

and neglect of national security

you are oblivious

Posted by: ProCounsel | November 9, 2010 6:42 PM | Report abuse

In other news: sky blue, water wet.

Posted by: shadow27 | November 9, 2010 7:06 PM | Report abuse

dear Leader would say that we're not currently stressed. He would "make it clear" that it's residual anxiety brought on by the policies of the previous administration.

Posted by: JAH3 | November 9, 2010 7:08 PM | Report abuse

Stress is when you don't know where your next meal is coming from. Stress is having a child with cancer that has no cure.

Most of us don't have stress. We have anxiety, which is self-created and therefore potentially self-correcting.

Posted by: ASColletti | November 9, 2010 7:14 PM | Report abuse

America: the western industrialized country with the longest work hours, the fewest vacation days, the weakest social safety net, and the greatest income disparity between rich and poor.

We've got a quality of life substantially inferior to that of Western and Northern Europe, and we're killing ourselves with stress. But oh yeah, we're the "greatest country on Earth", just ask us!

Posted by: vfr2dca | November 9, 2010 7:33 PM | Report abuse

I must be in the minority. I'm not stressed at all. My bills are paid, I put a hefty chunk into savings each month, I have a great job--- in other words, I live within my means-- I didn't go spending crazy like most everyone boohooing and crying that they are in debt or upside down in their mortgage. No pity here. I know others out there didn't go spending and credit crazy either. It's good not to be stressed.

Posted by: Aimhigh2000


Let me guess; you're a Republican. There are millions and millions of people in this country who, through absolutely no fault of their own, don't have "a great job." People who were bankrupted by medical bills for serious illnesses. People who couldn't afford the crushing cost of higher education, even with loans. People born to parents without wealth or connections. Etcetera. I am sure that they appreciate your adding insult to injury by blaming all their problems on a lack of moral character. I know I do.

Posted by: AdrianMole | November 9, 2010 8:02 PM | Report abuse

As if it weren't enough, the economy, jobs and all the rest, but it's the non-stop FOX news causing the most stress. The constant yelling. The constant lies. Aimhigh2000 must either have a gov't job or he works in a bank.

Posted by: peterpun | November 9, 2010 8:47 PM | Report abuse

We have the post 9/11 blues. Air travel is no longer enjoyable. The Fed has destroyed our nation with the printing press, the dollar is tanking and gold, oil, and food are going up and up.

We've had idiots in charge of both parties. Our nation is essentially bankrupt. The last time there was a competitive currency devaluation among nations, it resulted in World War II.

Posted by: alance | November 9, 2010 9:02 PM | Report abuse

Gee, I dun getting robbed everyday stressful? Is trying to comprehend a political system where politicians stand by and let banks rob you while they accept political contributions from banks stressful? Is paying your bills on time for 30 years and then getting charged 27% interest on a balance because some phony baloney credit score supposedly legally allows this over-collection of interest, is this stressful?

Is watching banks get bailed out and subsidized with trillions of hard earned taxpayer dollars, which banks then either sit on, re-loaned out to the same taxpayers that gave it to them, so they can loan it back to them at 30% that stressful?

Or watching these same bailed out subsidized banks pay out million dollar bonuses to executive who mismanaged banks, laundered drug cartel money, or traded in fraudulent CDO's until the economy was you think that is stressful?

Do you really need to ask?

Posted by: inojk | November 9, 2010 9:16 PM | Report abuse


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Posted by: goodlucky88 | November 9, 2010 9:18 PM | Report abuse

Here's some more, cuz I'm in quite a mood.

Is seeing the check engine light on and not being able to remember how long its been on stressful.

Is skipping the dentist for years cuz there's just no money stressful.

Is hearing the words at the doctors office when you take your sick kid in for a return visit cuz he's still not well, you have a balance you have to pay first because your insurance declined to pay the bill last that stressful?

Is deciding not to look in the owner's manual when new icons on your dashboard light up on your car stressful, cuz you don't have the money to pay anyway for the repairs.


Posted by: inojk | November 9, 2010 10:17 PM | Report abuse

And my absolute favorite, thing to hear from the bank is, golly you're not making as much money as you used to, so even though you have always paid your bills on time we will now be collecting 26% on your old balances, and will take away what little money you have left, because we are banks and we don't have to comply with the law...we buy the law.

Get it...wink, wink, thank goodness for limitless campaign contributions.

Posted by: inojk | November 9, 2010 10:24 PM | Report abuse

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