Every year since 2007, the American Psychological Association has released its "Stress in America" report, which this year reveals distressing news for women. According to the report, which surveyed more than 3,000 participants living in the U.S., women felt more stress in 2015 than they did in 2014. What's more, women’s average stress levels are still higher than men’s—5.3 vs. 4.9 on a 10-point scale—though the gap is narrowing compared to 2014 (5.2 vs. 4.5).
What causes the most stress? "Since 2007, the survey has found that money and work are the top two sources of very or somewhat significant stress (67 percent and 65 percent in 2015, respectively)," the APA notes. As for No. 3: "This year, for the first time, the survey reveals that family responsibilities are the third most common stressor (54 percent)." After family obligations, personal health, family health and the overall economy are the next biggest sources of stress.
Women are't the only ones feeling the pressure rise. Overall, Hispanic adults—men and women—reported the highest stress levels on average, with younger generations, adults with disabilities and LGBT adults also reporting higher average stress levels.
The current "Stress in America" report also focuses specifically on discrimination as a source of increased stress. "Dealing with discrimination results in a state of heightened vigilance and changes in behavior, which in itself can trigger stress responses," it reports, "so even the anticipation of discrimination can cause stress." The APA found that 30 percent of women cite gender as a reason for day-to-day discrimination, compared to just 8 percent of men. African American adults are the most likely to report experiencing some sort of discrimination, with more than 75 percent of African American respondents reporting that they experience day-to-day discrimination, compared with 61 percent of overall survey participants.
Working Mother recently reported that stress-related absenteeism, lost productivity, legal and insurance fees, and employee turnover cost U.S. companies more than $300 billion per year, so perhaps it's time for more companies to schedule those lunchtime yoga sessions.
For additional information on stress, lifestyle and behaviors, visit the American Psychological Association's website.