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Health / Safety

The growing stress over money

March 17, 2009

The American Psychological Association's '2008 Stress in America' survey reported that the declining economy is taking its toll on everyone, though women are harder hit by financial stress.

When asked about the recent financial crisis, almost half of Americans said they were worried about their ability to provide for their families' basic needs.  Eight out of 10 Americans said the economy was a significant cause of stress - with women (83 percent) more likely to suffer ill effects from it than men (78 percent.)

Other findings

  • Women of the Boomer Generation (ages 44-62) and "Matures" (age 63 plus) were the most likely to report the economy as a significant stressor.
  • Women, in general, ranked financial worries above personal health, though Booomer women reported higher stress levels when it came to job stability and concerns about the health of their families.
  • Women were more likely than men to report indulge in unhealthy behaviors to manage stress - including shopping, eating poorly, smoking, and drinking

The following consequences of stress were reported:

  • Fatigue:  57% women, 49% men
  • Irritability:  65% women, 55% men
  • Headache:  56% women, 36% men
  • Depression:  56 % women, 39% men

What can you do?

According to APA, the health consequences of extreme stress are most severe when people ignore symptoms and fail to manage their stress well.

  • Pause, but don't panic. 
  • Identify your financial stressors and make a plan.
  • Recognize how you deal with stress related to money.
  • Turn these challenging times into opportunities for real growth and change.
  • Ask for professional support.

Source and additional informationAmerican Psychological Association