Survey: Caregivers Most Stressed in America

Those dealing with chronically ill or aging family members report feeling the most overwhelmed.

by Lesley Kennedy • Reporter

Americans may be feeling a little less stressed in recent years, but that doesn’t mean we’re resting easy.

Stress in America: Our Heath at Risk, a recent online Harris survey conducted for the American Psychological Association, shows average stress levels are down to 5.2 on a 10-point scale from 5.4 in 2010, but 39 percent of respondents say they’re more stressed out than they were last year, according to a press release.

The survey also shows a mere 29 percent of Americans think they’re doing a great job of managing their stress or keeping it at bay.

Who gets the most stressed out? Caregivers. The release states that more and more Americans are caring for chronically ill or aging family members at home, and 55 percent of respondents report feeling overwhelmed by the care they need to provide.

“Various studies have shown that chronic stress is a major driver of chronic illness, which in turn is a major driver of escalating health care costs in this country,” psychologist Norman B. Anderson, the APA’s CEO and executive vice president, says in the release for the study. “It is critical that the entire health community and policymakers recognize the role of stress and unhealthy behaviors in causing and exacerbating chronic health conditions, and support models of care that help people make positive changes.”

OK, we’re in. Massage, hot cup of tea and a few minutes alone with a good book, anyone? Hey, it's a start.

Click here to read the full release.

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First Published January 11, 2012

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