Stress in America Survey - Caregiver Impact
Caregivers in America
Millions of Americans provide care for aging or chronically ill family members at home, and that number is expected to grow as the number of older Americans is likely to double by the year 2030, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Findings from the Stress in America survey suggest that we may want to pay particular attention to the impact of these responsibilities on caregivers, who report higher levels of stress, poorer health and a greater tendency to engage in unhealthy behaviors to alleviate their stress than the general public.
On a scale of 1 to 10 where 1 is little or no stress and 10 is a great deal of stress, the mean level of stress reported by caregivers was 6.5 as compared to 5.2 by the general public according to the APA survey. Fifty-five percent of caregivers say they feel overwhelmed by the amount of care their aging or chronically ill family member requires. Caregivers are more likely than those in the general population to say they're doing a poor/fair job practicing healthy behaviors, including managing stress (45 percent vs. 39 percent) and getting enough sleep (42 percent vs. 32 percent).
The latest data also demonstrate that caregivers are more likely than people in the general public to have a chronic illness (82 percent vs. 61 percent), rate their health as fair or poor (34 percent vs. 20 percent), and point to personal health concerns as a significant source of stress (66 percent vs. 53 percent). In addition, caregivers appear to manage stress in less healthy ways than the general population; for example, caregivers are twice as likely to report smoking to manage their stress (20 percent vs. 10 percent). Caregivers are far more likely than the general population to lay awake atnight, overeat or eat unhealthy foods,or skip a meal because of stress.
Chicago Survey Results
The Stress in America survey also breaks out results for the Chicago area. For more than eight out of 10 (81 percent) Chicago residents money is a significant cause of stress.More people in Chicago reported money as a stressor this year than in 2010 (81 percent in 2011; 70percent in 2010). In fact, more Chicago residents cite money as a cause of stress than the nation as awhole (81 percent in Chicago; 75 percent of all Americans). Three-quarters (75 percent) of Chicagoresidents report that their work is a source of stress and nearly the same percent site the economy (73percent). In addition, more Chicagoans than the rest of the country are dissatisfied with their work (33percent in Chicago; 25 percent nationally).
Lack of willpower remains the number one barrier to change for Chicago residents who decided to orwere recommended to make a lifestyle or behavior change —40 percent of adults cite this as a barrierto change. This is more adults than the 27 percent nationally who said willpower was an obstacle. Fortyfivepercent of Chicagoans who indicated willpower was a barrier cited needing more confidence in theirability to make changes as necessary to improve their willpower, and 42 percent believe that more timewould help improve their willpower.
PR, N. (2012, January 11). Latest APA Survey Reveals Deepening Concerns about Connection between Chronic Disease and Stress. PR Newswire US.
Kate Kelley, APA, Scott Rieder, Vanguard Communications, Chicago Residents’ Stress Still Higher than Healthy