Money Top Stressor Among Americans

Money Top Stressor Among AmericansMoney Top Stressor Among Americans

Money continues to be the leading cause of stress for Americans, a new survey finds.

Overall, stress in the United States is at a seven-year low, and average stress levels are declining, the American Psychological Association poll found.

But money worries continue to nag at the American psyche, despite the ongoing economic recovery, the association says in its report released Feb. 4, entitled Stress in America: Paying With Our Health.

Financial worries served as a significant source of stress for 64 percent of adults in 2014, ranking higher than three other major sources of stress: work (60%), family responsibilities (47%), and health concerns (46%), says the online HealthDay News.

Nearly three out of four adults reported feeling stressed about money at least some of the time, and about one in four adults said they experienced extreme stress over money during the past month, according to the report.

“Money is a very important component of establishing a secure life,” said Norman Anderson, CEO and executive vice president of the American Psychological Association. “When people are financially challenged, it makes sense that their stress level would go up.”

The good news is that, on average, Americans’ stress levels are trending downward. The average reported stress level is 4.9 on a 10-point scale, down from 6.2 in 2007, the report found.

Financial stress particularly affects women, parents and younger adults, the survey found.

For instance, three out of four parents and adults younger than 50 said money is a somewhat or very significant source of stress. Women are more likely than men to report money as a significant source of stress, 68% versus 61%.

 Emerging Gap

In 2007, there was no difference in reported average stress levels between those who earned more and those who earned less than $50,000.

But by 2014, a gap had emerged, with those living in lower-income households reporting higher overall stress levels than those living in higher-income households - 5.2 versus 4.7 on the 10-point scale.

Katherine Nordal, the association’s executive director for professional practice, noted that inflation and wage stagnation continue to exacerbate people’s money worries, despite recent economic gains. Almost one-third reported that money is a major source of conflict between couples.