While aspects of the U.S. economy have improved, money continues to be a top cause of stress for Americans, according to APA’s Stress in America:
Paying with Our Health survey released on Feb. 4.
According to this year’s survey results, parents, younger
generations and those who live in households with below
median income report higher levels of stress than Americans
overall, especially when it comes to stress about money.
“Regardless of the economic climate, money and finances
have remained the top stressor since our survey began in 2007,”
says APA CEO Norman B. Anderson, PhD. “Furthermore, this
year’s survey shows that stress related to financial issues could
have a significant impact on Americans’ health and well-being.”
The survey, which was conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of
APA among 3,068 adults in August 2014, found that 72 percent
of Americans reported feeling stressed about money at least
some of the time during the past month. Twenty-two percent
said that they experienced extreme stress about money during
the past month (an 8, 9 or 10 on a 10-point scale, where 1 is
“little or no stress” and 10 is “a great deal of stress”).
For the majority of Americans ( 64 percent), money is a
somewhat or very significant source of stress, but especially for
parents of children below the age of 18 and younger adults ( 77
percent of parents, 75 percent of Millennials, ages 18 to 35, and
76 percent of Gen Xers, ages 36 to 49).
A gap also appears to be emerging in stress levels between
people whose household income is below the median income
($50,000) and those whose income is above it — mirroring
the growing wealth gap nationwide. In 2007, there was no
difference in reported average stress levels between those whose
household income was above or below $50,000, with both
groups reporting the same average levels of stress ( 6. 2 on a
10-point scale). By 2014, a clear gap had emerged with those
living in the lower-income group reporting higher overall
stress levels than those living in the higher-income group ( 5. 2
vs. 4. 7 on the 10-point scale).
Stress about money and finances appears to have a
significant impact on many Americans’ lives. Some are putting
their health-care needs on hold because of financial concerns.
Nearly 1 in 5 Americans say that they have either considered
skipping ( 9 percent) or skipped ( 12 percent) going to a doctor
when they needed health care because of financial concerns.
Stress about money also affects relationships: Almost a third
of adults with partners ( 31 percent) report that money is a
Although our overall stress is down since the Great Recession began, many
Americans continue to be substantially stressed by money, according to
the latest APA Stress in America survey.
By Sophie Bethune