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Stress in America: Financial Worries Top the List

Women, parents, and younger adults most troubled, survey finds

FRIDAY, Feb. 6, 2015 (HealthDay News) — Financial worries served as a significant source of stress for 64 percent of adults in 2014, ranking higher than three other major sources of stress: work (60 percent), family responsibilities (47 percent), and health concerns (46 percent), according to a report released Feb. 4, titled Stress in America: Paying With Our Health.

The survey of 3,068 adults was conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of the American Psychological Association in August 2014. The average reported stress level is 4.9 on a 10-point scale, down from 6.2 in 2007, the report found. Despite this, the association found that Americans are living with stress levels higher than what psychologists believe to be healthy, and 22 percent say that they are not doing enough to manage their stress.

Nearly three out of four adults reported feeling stressed about money at least some of the time, and about one in four adults said they experienced extreme stress over money during the past month, according to the report. Financial stress particularly affects women, parents, and younger adults, the survey found. For instance, three out of four parents and adults younger than 50 said money is a somewhat or very significant source of stress. Women are more likely than men to report money as a significant source of stress (68 versus 61 percent).

A gap also appears to be emerging in stress levels between people living in lower-income and higher-income households. In 2007, there was no difference in reported average stress levels between those who earned more and those who earned less than $50,000. But by 2014, a gap had emerged, with those living in lower-income households reporting higher overall stress levels than those living in higher-income households — 5.2 versus 4.7 on the 10-point scale.

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