Stress Levels Rise in Los Angeles; More Stressed than Americans Nationwide

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

More LA residents reporting chronic health problems, APA survey finds.

LOS ANGELES, Nov. 9, 2010 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Money, work and the economy are significant causes of stress for residents of the Los Angeles area and stress levels in LA are higher than the national average, according to a survey released today by the American Psychological Association (APA) and conducted online by Harris Interactive in August 2010. Accompanying the rising stress levels is an increase in the number of residents reporting chronic health problems, such as arthritis and asthma and fewer LA residents than Americans overall say they are in excellent or very good health.

More residents this year in LA say the economy is a significant cause of stress (75 percent in 2010 from 57 percent in 2009) and more residents in 2010 also cite money --76 percent in 2010 vs. 67 percent in 2009. In addition, while 62 percent of LA residents feel that managing stress is important, only about one-third (34 percent) admit they do an excellent or very good job of it.

The growing stress levels of LA residents may be affecting their health-- survey numbers show that more people are reporting serious health diagnoses, such as asthma (13 percent in 2010 vs. 7 percent in 2009), arthritis (18 percent in 2010 vs. 11 percent in 2009) and chronic pain (9 percent in 2010 vs. 4 percent in 2009). The waistline of LA residents is also growing--those who were told by a healthcare provider that they are overweight or obese also rose to 29 percent in 2010 from 25 percent in 2009.

The positive news is that fewer LA residents this year blame willpower for their failure to make healthy lifestyle changes (32 percent in 2010 vs. 41 percent in 2009) or lack of time (14 percent in 2010 vs. 20 percent in 2009). However, twice as many people in LA cite disability or health concern as a barrier to a healthy lifestyle (14 percent in 2010 vs. 7 percent in 2009).

In terms of job satisfaction, LA residents report feeling less satisfied with their job than in previous years (58 percent in 2010 vs. 64 percent in 2009 and 67 percent in 2008) and they are less likely than the rest of the country to recommend their workplace to others. At their jobs, LA residents report more stress than before—39 percent report being tense or stressed out at work in the 2010 survey compared to 29 percent in 2009.

"It's worrisome that  people in the LA area are reporting higher stress levels than the rest of the country, especially since we know there is a strong connection between chronic stress and serious health problems, " said LA-area psychologist Dr. Michael Ritz, the public education coordinator for the California Psychological Association. "But stress can be properly managed when people adopt the healthy lifestyle changes necessary to improving 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 Los Angeles and the United States, visit

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


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 211 adults living in the Los Angeles 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

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

SOURCE American Psychological Association