Thursday, October 2, 2008

New Poll Shows American's Stress Levels Rising

PRNewswire/ -- Americans are feeling more stress today than they did six months ago, according to a new national stress study. The survey of 1,000 men and women, ages 18 and older, revealed that 47 percent of respondents currently feel more stress than they did six months ago. And no surprise, the #1 source of stress reported is personal finance concerns, the top response for almost half (49%) of those surveyed. Surprisingly, international unrest, the war and the presidential election were reported significantly lower as primary causes of stress, registering only 2 percent each.

The stress survey, conducted by Booth Research and sponsored by The Ester-C Company, focused primarily on American's self-reported sources of stress and methods for coping with stress. Additionally, the study sheds light on the effects of stress, and the correlation between stress and physical health. 85 percent of respondents reported that they believe stress weakens their body's immune system. According to the survey, females are more likely than men to be aware of the connection that stress can have on immune health.

"Recognition of where stress originates and how it manifests, with regard to health, is an important first step that individuals can take to develop strategies for coping," says noted immune health expert Mark Moyad, M.D., University of Michigan. "Stress can take a serious toll on the human body if unmanaged, and is a contributing factor to the cold and flu season, which takes place in the United States during the months where extreme weather conditions provide an additional layer of stress to manage."

Young and Stressed, Older and Mellower

Young people report higher levels of stress than their older counterparts. Nearly six in ten respondents, in the 35-44 years of age category, reported high or very high levels of stress (58%), while less than one quarter (23%) of respondents in the 55 plus age group reported experiencing the same upper levels of stress. The youngest age group surveyed, those 18-24 years of age, registered the highest response (64%) indicating they are more stressed now than 6 months ago.

Stress Leads to Lack of Z-Z-Z-Z's

The majority (55%) of survey respondents asked about stress effects cited "ability to get a good night's sleep" as the top response. Another one-third reported that stress is impacting their physical health, and nearly as many reported that stress affects their personal relationships (32%).

Americans Adapt New Age Approaches for Handling Stress

When asked about stress coping strategies, more respondents cited "meditation and breathing techniques" (28%) than the more traditional approach of "taking a vacation" (25%), which may also point to economic factors -- that can turn vacationing into as much a source of stress as a stress reliever. On a healthy note, "exercise" tops the list of reported methods for tackling stress.

Survey Background

Booth Research conducted the online survey among 1,000 adults (ages 18 and older) in the continental United States. The questionnaire consisted of 10 questions, and Booth Research obtained a nationally representative sample of online panel respondents to complete this study.

The overall sample of 1,000 consumers yields a sample reliability of plus or minus 3.1%, which is the maximum difference explainable through random chance in 95% of all samples of this size.

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