Americans are stressed out. And, perhaps unsurprisingly, they are most stressed over money, according to a new survey. Over 1-in-4 Americans report feeling stressed over money most or all of the time, and most say this stress over money has remained the same as last year (59%) or gotten worse (29%).
The survey was conducted by the American Psychological Assn.’s annual survey of stress in America, which was issued this past week. According to the survey, the stress has paralleled the nation’s unsatisfactory recovery. 36% of the poor report they feel stress over money all or most of the time. Among those living in households with income over $50,000, half as many, 18%, report they feel chronic financial stress.
Average stress levels were higher in 2007 than in 2014. In 2014, however, stress levels began to change along income lines. Lower-income households averaged stress levels of 5.2 on a 1-to-10 scale on which 10 was the highest. Those with higher household incomes averaged stress levels of 4.7.
As LA Times notes,
The psychological pulse-taking makes clear that this increasingly skewed pattern of stress will probably exacerbate the dramatic inequities in the health of poorer and richer Americans. Those living in lower-income households were almost twice as likely as wealthier respondents to tell survey-takers that financial insecurity stands in the way of their living a more healthful lifestyle.
Compared with higher-income respondents who experienced less stress, those with high stress and low income were more likely to say they had skipped, or considered skipping, a needed trip to the doctor out of financial concern. They were more likely to say they dealt with their stress in unhealthful ways, such as drinking alcohol, surfing the Internet, watching TV or eating. And they were more likely to say they felt lonely or isolated in their stress.
Money, work, family responsibilities and health concerns led as sources of stress for Americans, according to the survey. 58% said paying for essentials was a significant source of stress.
38% of men said that paying for essentials was a somewhat or very significant source of stress, while 49% of women said so.
The American Psychological Assn.’s executive vice president, Norman B. Anderson, said the latest survey “continues to reinforce the idea that we are living with a level of stress that we consider too high.”
The findings are particularly worrying considering 50% of Americans are living in poverty.