The Burden of Stress in America

A poll finds health-related events to be the most common major stressful events in Americans’ lives.

This poll is part of an ongoing series sponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in partnership with the Harvard School of Public Health and National Public Radio. A nationally representative sample of more than 2,500 adults age 18 and older participated in the poll.

Participants were asked about the occurrence of stress in their personal lives over the past month and year, the perceived effects and causes of their stress, methods of managing stress, and general attitudes about the effect of stress in their lives. Close to half of those polled reported they had a stressful event or experience within the past year and more than a quarter reported having a great deal of stress in the past month.  Compared to the public as a whole, those who identified as being in poor health and who are disabled were much more likely to report a great deal of stress in the last month. Those experiencing a great deal of stress in the past month largely reported that it affected their family life, health, and social life.

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