Women and young people 'most stressed' in US
Washington, June 15 (ANI): Being young, a woman, having a low education level and-or having low pay represent the most stressed people in the United States, a new study has revealed.
The study marks the first time that the scientists have been able to track the level of stress across the US over time.
Self-reported stress levels increased between 10 to 30 percent over all demographic categories between 1983 and 2009.
"We know that stress contributes to poorer health practices, increased risk for disease, accelerated disease progression and increased mortality," CBS News quoted study author Dr. Sheldon Cohen, the Robert E. Doherty Professor of Psychology at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pa., as saying.
"Differences in stress between demographics may be important markers of populations under increased risk for physical and psychological disorders," he said.
According to the Mayo Clinic, high stress can lead to health problems such as high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity and diabetes.
Researchers looked at telephone survey data that was collected in 1983 and online surveys that were conducted from 2006 and 2009 to compile their data.
Each survey consisted of at least 2,000 Americans and used the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS), which was created by Cohen to find out the stress level that arises from certain life situations.
In general, not only were women more stressed, but the study found that the stress levels also increased with decreasing age - meaning 20-year-olds were more stressed out than 30-year-olds - and with lower education and income levels.
Stress levels for women increased by 18 percent, while men's stress levels increased by 25 percent over the study time period.
While minorities were more stressed than whites, the differences were canceled when other demographic factors were taken into account.
Although out of work people were the most stressed, retired people normally reported lower stress levels.
The recession from 2008- 2009 did not increase stress levels that much for Americans, except for white, middle-aged men who had college educations.
The stress levels of these people increased greatly, perhaps because they had both their jobs and their savings at stake, the researchers hypothesized.
Cohen pointed out that because the surveys had been conducted differently, it may not necessarily mean that people are, in general, more stressed in this day and age.
The difference may have made the people more likely to report stress in one method over another.
"It's hard to say if people are more stressed now than before because the first survey was conducted by phone and the last two were done online," Cohen said.
"But, it's clear that stress is still very much present in Americans' lives, putting them at greater risk for many diseases such as cardiovascular, asthma and autoimmune disorders," he added
The study is published in the Journal of Applied Psychology. (ANI)
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