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DETROIT (WWJ) - The economy and work are significant causes of stress for residents of the Detroit metropolitan area, and stress in Detroit is still higher than considered healthy, according to a survey released by the American Psychological Association.
Although reported stress levels have dipped in Detroit since last year, Detroit residents still experience high stress levels, reporting an average stress level of 5.2 on a 10-point scale. This stress level is higher than what they considered healthy (3.6 on a 10-point scale).
Even with lowered reported stress levels, 75 percent of Detroit residents report that the economy is a significant cause of stress. And 73 percent said work is a significant cause of stress. And more than one-third (38 percent) said they are dissatisfied with their work, a number that is substantially greater than reported by Americans nationally (25 percent).
More than half of Detroit residents (59 percent) said it is very important to manage stress, yet fewer than half (43 percent) report that they are doing an excellent or very good job at managing it. And almost one-quarter (22 percent) said they have no strategies to manage their stress, higher than the rest of the nation (12 percent).
Detroiters are, however, more likely to report using yoga and meditation to help manage their stress (18 percent vs. 11 percent nationally). Other frequently named ways to reduce stress include exercise or walking, listening to music, spending time with family or friends, reading and praying.
Detroit residents reported more physical activity in 2011. Nearly 60 percent of adults (59 percent) said they exercise at least a few times a week, compared to 50 percent in 2010. And among those who tried, 41 percent of Detroit residents said they were successful at losing weight, compared to 30 percent nationally.
Yet stress is a enough of a problem for people in Detroit that it is a barrier to making positive lifestyle change—one in six adults (15 percent) who wanted to make a lifestyle change said they were too stressed to do so, an increase from only 4 percent in 2010.
Detroit-area psychologist Dr. Josephine Johnson said while overall stress levels in Detroit are lower than last year, the numbers of Detroit residents who are stressed about the economy and work is alarming. Johnson added that although stress levels are lower than in previous years, they are still higher than what is considered healthy.
The survey was conducted online by Harris Interactive among 223 Detroit residents and 1,226 U.S. adults in August and September.
The national survey found that reported stress levels have stabilized from the highs of the economic crisis; however, they remain higher than what is considered healthy.
Furthermore, Americans who serve as caregivers — providing care to both the aging and chronically ill — for their family members report higher levels of stress, poorer health and a greater tendency to engage in unhealthy behaviors to alleviate that stress than the population at large.
The national survey also found that people suffering from depression or obesity report higher average stress levels than the rest of the population, and are more likely to respond that they are not doing enough to manage their stress. People who are depressed or obese are more likely that the general population to try eating a healthier diet or taking other steps to reduce stress levels, but are less likely to report success when making health lifestyle changes.
To read the full report on Detroit and the United States, visit www.stressinamerica.org.