Health most common major stressful event in Americans' lives last year

July 8, 2014

Science Daily/Harvard School of Public Health

A new poll released today that examines the role of stress in Americans' lives finds that about half of the public (49 percent) reported that they had a major stressful event or experience in the past year. Nearly half (43 percent) reported that the most stressful experiences related to health.

Bad effects on emotional well-being (63%) are the most common health effect reported by those with a great deal of stress in the last month, followed by problems with sleep (56%) and difficulty in thinking, concentrating, or making decisions (50%). About half of those with a great deal of stress as well as a chronic illness or disability say stress made the symptoms worse (53%) or made it harder for them to manage their chronic illness or disability (52%).

In addition, many report significant impacts from stress in other spheres of their lives. More than four in ten of those under a great deal of stress in the last month report that this stress made it harder to get along with family members (45%) and prevented them from spending time with family members (44%). Half of those who experienced a great deal of stress in the last month and are employed say stress made it harder to concentrate at work (51%), and 41% say it made it harder to take on extra responsibilities that could help advance their career.

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