Health Care System Falling Short for Stress Management, Los Angeles Residents Report

Feb 07, 2013, 11:00 ET from American Psychological Association

Stress and mental health not being addressed by health care system

WASHINGTON, Feb. 7, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Los Angeles residents, like Americans across the country, are finding a disconnect with what they want from their health care provider and what they actually receive, according to a new survey released today by the American Psychological Association (APA), conducted online by Harris Interactive among 2,020 U.S. adults in August 2012. In addition, 228 residents of Los Angeles were interviewed.

The survey shows that only 38 percent of Los Angeles residents give their physical health care an "A" grade.  Regarding their mental and emotional health, one-third of Los Angeles adults say it is extremely or very important to discuss their mental health with their health care providers and 35 percent say the same about stress management, but only 17 and 20 percent, respectively, say they have these discussions often or always.

Similarly, residents of Los Angeles are more likely than Americans overall to say their health care providers can help them a great deal or a lot with stress management (34 percent vs. 24 percent).

Stress remains higher than what Los Angeles residents consider a healthy level of stress. They report an average stress level of 5.0 (on a 10 point scale), 1.3 points higher than what they define as a healthy level of stress (3.7 on a 10 point scale). And 37 percent of adults in Los Angeles report that their stress has increased in the past year. While the majority of people living in Los Angeles say that managing stress is important to them (67 percent), only 41 percent think they are doing an excellent or very good job at it.

Survey respondents in Los Angeles most commonly cite work, money and the economy as significant sources of stress (work: 72 percent in Los Angeles vs. 65 percent nationally; money: 70 percent vs. 69 percent; economy: 64 percent vs. 61 percent).

However, concerns over health appear to be more apparent in Los Angeles than across the country: 61 percent of Los Angeles residents say personal health concerns are a significant source of stress compared to 51 percent of Americans overall.

"Stress can negatively affect one's overall health, and the fact that most Los Angeles residents are not discussing their stress with their health care provider is concerning," said Los Angeles-area psychologist Dr. Michael Ritz, the public education coordinator for the California Psychological Association. "With Los Angeles residents reporting higher levels of stress than what they consider healthy, it is important for people to talk to their provider about ways they can manage stress to prevent stress-related illness."

Findings from the national survey, Stress in America™: Missing the Health Care Connection, suggest that people are not receiving what they need from their health care providers to manage stress and address lifestyle and behavior changes to improve their health.  The survey showed that while Americans think it is important that health care focuses on issues related to stress and living healthier lifestyles, their experiences do not seem to match up with what they value. For example, though 32 percent of Americans say it is very/extremely important to talk with their health care providers about stress management, only 17 percent report that these conversations are happening often or always.

To read the full Stress in America report or to download graphics, visit  

For additional information on stress, lifestyle and behaviors, visit and read APA's Mind/Body Health campaign blog Join the conversation about stress on Twitter by following @apahelpcenter and #stressAPA.


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 31, 2012, among 2,020 adults aged 18 and older who reside in the U.S. In addition, an oversample of 228 adults living in the Los Angeles Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) was collected. MSAs are a formal definition of metropolitan areas produced by the U.S. 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.  This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. To read the full methodology, including the weighting variables, visit

The American Psychological Association, 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 137,000 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 the creation, communication and application of psychological knowledge to benefit society and improve people's lives.

Harris Interactive is one of the world's leading 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 proprietary solutions in the areas of market and customer insight, corporate brand and reputation strategy, and marketing, advertising, public relations and communications research. Harris possesses expertise in a wide range of industries including health care, technology, public affairs, energy, telecommunications, financial services, insurance, media, retail, restaurant, and consumer package goods. Additionally, Harris has a portfolio of multi-client offerings that complement our custom solutions while maximizing our client's research investment. Serving clients in more than 196 countries and territories through our North American and European offices, Harris specializes in delivering research solutions that help us - and our clients—stay ahead of what's next. For more information, please visit

SOURCE American Psychological Association