Less Stress in Denver, But Stress-Linked Health Problems Increase

More Denver residents told by a healthcare provider that they are overweight or have type 2 diabetes, APA survey says

Nov 09, 2010, 12:30 ET from American Psychological Association

DENVER, Nov. 9, 2010 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Money, work and the economy are the most frequently reported significant causes of stress for residents of Denver, even though fewer this year report feeling a great deal of stress in their daily lives, according to a survey released today by the American Psychological Association (APA). Despite fewer residents reporting extreme stress during the past month, fewer also say they are as healthy as they were last year, with more reporting conditions often linked to chronic stress.

The survey, which was conducted online by Harris Interactive in August 2010 showed that even as Denver residents deal with stress and its many causes, more than half regard themselves as "laid back," (53 percent), according to the APA survey.

Even though fewer residents cite work (71 percent in 2010 vs. 80 percent in 2009) and money (73 percent vs. 77 percent) as a cause of stress this year, most residents report them—along with the economy (68 percent in 2010 vs. 59 in 2009)—as a cause of their stress. The percentage of residents who say they feel a great deal of stress declined from one-third of residents in 2009 (35 percent) to a quarter (24 percent in 2010). Still, nearly half of the residents say their stress level has increased over the past year.

Denver residents are feeling better at work in 2010. Three-fourths of working residents (72 percent) say they are satisfied with their jobs, an increase from 60 percent in 2009. But almost half of workers in Denver said they are tense or stressed out at work (47 percent).  

Fewer residents this year consider themselves in very good or excellent health, declining from 49 percent in 2009 to 38 percent in 2010.  More residents report being told by a healthcare provider that they are overweight (28 percent in 2009 vs. 38 percent this year) or have type 2 diabetes (4 percent in 2009 vs. 13 percent this year), numbers that are greater than the national average. Nearly half of adults have been told by a healthcare provider that they need to exercise more (43 percent) or lose weight (42 percent).

While the majority says they eat healthy (56 percent) at least very often or exercise regularly (61 percent), lack of time and willpower are each cited by 26 percent of residents as barriers to making recommended lifestyle changes.

"It's good news to see that fewer people in the region are reporting such high levels of stress, especially since we know there is a strong connection between chronic stress and serious health problems," said Dr. Stephanie Smith, public education coordinator for the Colorado Psychological Association. "But it's also alarming that so many people report health problems and that they struggle with adopting the necessary lifestyle changes that can improve their health."

At a national level, the annual Stress in America survey shows that Americans appear to be caught in a vicious cycle where they manage stress in unhealthy ways, and lack of willpower and time constraints impede their ability to make lifestyle or behavioral changes. In general, Americans recognize that their stress levels remain high and exceed what they consider to be healthy.

The national survey also found that while reported stress levels across the nation remain similar to last year, fewer adults report being satisfied with the ways that their employer helps employees balance work and personal life demands, and in general, concern about job stability is on the rise.

To read the full report on Denver and the United States, visit www.stressinamerica.org.

Stress in America is part of APA's Mind/Body Health public education campaign. For additional information on stress and lifestyle and behavior, visit www.apa.org/helpcenter and read the campaign blog www.yourmindyourbody.org. Join the conversation about stress on Twitter by following @apahelpcenter and #stress APA. Get your questions answered on November 10 at 2:00 p.m. EST for a live chat with psychologists at www.facebook.com/americanpsychologicalassociation.


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 27, 2010, of 1,134 adults aged 18+ who reside in the U.S.  In addition, an oversample of 206 adults living in the Denver MSA was collected. MSAs are a formal definition of metropolitan areas produced by OMB (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. No estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. To read the full methodology, visit www.stressinamerica.org.

The American Psychological Association (APA), 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 150,000 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 psychology as a science, as a profession and as a means of promoting health, education and human welfare.

Harris Interactive is one of the world's leading custom 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 expertise in a wide range of industries including healthcare, technology, public affairs, energy, telecommunications, financial services, insurance, media, retail, restaurant, and consumer package goods. Serving clients in over 215 countries and territories through our North American, European, and Asian offices and a network of independent market research firms, Harris specializes in delivering research solutions that help us - and our clients - stay ahead of what's next. For more information, please visit www.harrisinteractive.com.

SOURCE American Psychological Association