Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Less Stress, But Atlantans Still Worry

/PRNewswire/ -- Money, work and the economy are significant causes of stress for residents of the Atlanta metropolitan area, although fewer Atlanta residents report having high levels of stress this year, according to a survey released today by the American Psychological Association (APA) and conducted online by Harris Interactive in August 2010. Accompanying the lower stress levels is an increase in the number of residents concerned about housing costs, with 48 percent reporting housing costs a stressor in 2010 compared to 36 percent in 2009.

While news reports indicate that the nation's economy is improving, the survey showed more residents this year in Atlanta say that money is a significant cause of stress (80 percent in 2010 vs. 70 percent in 2009). Yet, even with the increase in stress regarding money, fewer Atlanta residents say they are doing enough to manage their stress this year than they did previously (55 percent in 2010 vs. 62 percent in 2009). Furthermore, while 70 percent of Atlanta residents feel that managing stress is important, less than half (40 percent) admit they do an excellent or very good job of it.

Although Atlantans are reporting lower levels of high stress (27 percent in 2010 vs. 37 percent in 2009), their stress is still higher than what they consider healthy (5.8 on a 10-point scale in 2010 compared to 3.8 reported as a healthy level of stress). The stress levels of Atlanta residents may be affecting their health-- survey numbers show that more people reported that they were told by their healthcare provider they were depressed (20 percent in 2010 vs. 10 percent in 2009) or had anxiety (10 percent in 2010 vs. 7 percent in 2009). And, the percentage of Atlanta residents who report their health as excellent or very good dropped from 42 percent in 2009 to 34 percent in 2010.

Lack of will power remains the number one barrier to change for Atlantans -- three out of ten adults (31 percent) continue to cite this as the reason they have not made the lifestyle adjustments recommended by their healthcare providers. Money appears to play a larger role in making behavior change this year, with almost a quarter (21 percent) of Atlanta residents reporting that it is too expensive for them to make the lifestyle and behavior changes recommended by their healthcare provider, compared to 13 percent in 2009.

In terms of job satisfaction, Atlanta residents report feeling as satisfied with their job as last year (67 percent in 2010 vs. 66 percent in 2009). However, more Atlanta residents reported job stability as a stressor (51 percent in 2010 vs. 45 percent in 2009). At their jobs, only a third (33 percent) of Atlantans say they are satisfied with how their employer helps employees handles work-life balance compared to nearly half (48 percent) in 2009.

"It's great news that people in the Atlanta area are reporting lower stress levels than in previous years, especially since we know there is a strong connection between chronic stress and serious health problems, " said Atlanta-area psychologist Dr. Angela Londono-McConnell, the public education coordinator for the Georgia Psychological Association. "But it is important to remember that even if stress is lower, it is still being reported as higher than what Atlanta residents consider healthy. Atlantans can manage their stress levels better by adopting healthy lifestyle changes."

At a national level, the annual Stress in America survey shows that Americans appear to be caught in a vicious cycle where they manage stress in unhealthy ways, and lack of willpower and time constraints impede their ability to make lifestyle or behavioral changes. In general, Americans recognize that their stress levels remain high and exceed what they consider to be healthy.

The national survey also found that while reported stress levels across the nation remain similar to last year, fewer adults report being satisfied with the ways that their employer helps employees balance work and personal life demands, and in general, concern about job stability is on the rise.

To read the full report on Atlanta and the United States, visit www.stressinamerica.org.

Stress in America is part of APA's Mind/Body Health public education campaign. For additional information on stress and lifestyle and behavior, visit www.apa.org/helpcenter and read the campaign blog www.yourmindyourbody.org . Join the conversation about stress on Twitter by following @apahelpcenter and #stressAPA. Get your questions answered on November 10 at 2:00 p.m. EST for a live chat with psychologists at www.facebook.com/americanpsychologicalassociation.


The Stress in America Survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of the American Psychological Association between August 3 and 27, 2010, of 1,134 adults aged 18+ who reside in the U.S. In addition, an oversample of 213 adults living in the Atlanta MSA was collected. MSAs are a formal definition of metropolitan areas produced by OMB (Office of Management and Budget). These geographic areas are delineated on the basis of central urbanized areas —contiguous counties of relatively high population density. Counties containing the core urbanized area are known as the central counties of the MSA. Additional surrounding counties (known as outlying counties) can be included in the MSA if these counties have strong social and economic ties to the central counties as measured by commuting and employment. Note that some areas within these outlying counties may actually be rural in nature. No estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. To read the full methodology, visit www.stressinamerica.org .

The American Psychological Association (APA), in Washington, D.C., is the largest scientific and professional organization representing psychology in the United States and is the world's largest association of psychologists. APA's membership includes more than 150,000 researchers, educators, clinicians, consultants and students. Through its divisions in 54 subfields of psychology and affiliations with 60 state, territorial and Canadian provincial associations, APA works to advance psychology as a science, as a profession and as a means of promoting health, education and human welfare.

Harris Interactive

Harris Interactive is one of the world's leading custom market research firms, leveraging research, technology, and business acumen to transform relevant insight into actionable foresight. Known widely for the Harris Poll and for pioneering innovative research methodologies, Harris offers expertise in a wide range of industries including healthcare, technology, public affairs, energy, telecommunications, financial services, insurance, media, retail, restaurant, and consumer package goods. Serving clients in over 215 countries and territories through our North American, European, and Asian offices and a network of independent market research firms, Harris specializes in delivering research solutions that help us - and our clients - stay ahead of what's next. For more information, please visit www.harrisinteractive.com . 

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