How stressed is America? How stressed are you? In recognition of the high levels of stress many Americans experience on a daily basis, The American Psychological Association conducts an annual survey to better understand where our stress is coming from.
Stress is an important issue. It affects both our mental health and our physical health. Many people find themselves managing stress by doing things that ultimately lead to more problems. Over or under eating, drinking and smoking are a few of the behaviors that can create both physical and psychological problems and increase stress over time.
The following are some of the findings reported in a press release from the 2010 APA Stress in America survey.
Women and Stress
- Women are more likely than men (28 percent vs. 20 percent) to report having a great deal of stress (8, 9 or 10 on a 10-point scale).
- Married women report higher levels of stress than single women, with one-third (33 percent) reporting that they have experienced a great deal of stress in the past month
- Married women are more likely than single women to report they have experienced the following due to stress in the past month: feeling as though they could cry (54 percent vs. 33 percent), feeling irritable or angry (52 percent vs. 38 percent), having headaches (48 percent vs. 33 percent) and experiencing fatigue (47 percent vs. 35 percent).
Strategies for Managing Stress
- Women are far more likely than men to say they read to manage stress (57 percent vs. 34 percent for men) and overall, tend to report more stress management activities that connect them with other people, like spending time with friends or family (54 percent vs. 39 percent) and going to church or religious services (27 percent vs. 18 percent).
- Men are more likely than women to say they play sports (16 percent vs. 4 percent) and listen to music (52 percent vs. 47 percent) as a way of managing stress. They are also more likely than women to say they do nothing to manage their stress (9 percent vs. 4 percent
Eating and Stress
- Women are more likely than men to report that they eat as a way of managing stress (31 percent vs. 21 percent). Similarly, women also report having eaten too much or eaten unhealthy foods because of stress in the past month far more often than men (49 percent of women vs. 30 percent of men).
- Significantly more women (35 percent) than men (24 percent) exercise only once a week or less. When asked why they don’t exercise more often, they are more likely than men to say they are just too tired
- While both genders cite lack of willpower as the No. 1 barrier to change, women are more likely than men to cite lack of willpower as a barrier preventing them from making the lifestyle and behavior changes recommended by a health care provider (34 percent vs. 24 percent).
- When asked what they would need to change in order for their willpower to improve, women were more likely than men to say less fatigue/more energy (56 percent vs. 44 percent) and more confidence in their ability to improve their willpower (60 percent vs. 38 percent).
- Men are less likely to say they need encouragement from friends or family in order to improve their willpower (28 percent vs. 42 percent) and slightly more likely to say they need more money (43 percent vs. 39 percent). Women are more likely to say they need more time (37 percent vs. 29 percent).
- Six times as many women as men say that having more help with household chores would allow them to improve their willpower (23 percent vs. 4 percent).
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