The Burden of Stress in America

Jul 7, 2014, 1:28 PM

A new NPR/Robert Wood Johnson Foundation/Harvard School of Public Health poll released today finds that about half of the public reported a major stressful event or experience in the past year. Nearly half (43 percent) reported that the most stressful experiences related to health.


More than half of those who experienced a great deal of stress in the past month say too many overall responsibilities and financial problems were contributors. More than a third of those with a great deal of stress say the contributors include their own health problems and health problems of family members. 

“Stress touches everyone. Unfortunately, many of those feeling the most stress get trapped in cycles that can be very unhealthy. If we are going to build a culture of health in America, one big step we can take is recognizing the causes and effects not just of our own stress and the stress of those closest to us, but of others we encounter in our day-to-day lives,” says Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, MD, RWJF president and CEO.

People in poor health are more than twice as likely as the public as a whole to report a great deal of stress in the past month (60 percent).

Interviews were conducted in English and Spanish via telephone by SSRS of Media (Pa.), March 3 – April 8, 2014, among a nationally representative sample of 2,505 adults age 18 and older.

Read the full report, The Burden of Stress in America.

Learn how you can join the live webcast on The Health Burden of Stress on Wednesday, July 9 at 12:30 ET.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Human Capital Blog will carry posts by RWJF scholars and alumni examining the link between stress and health this week, and throughout July.

This commentary originally appeared on the RWJF Human Capital Blog. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the authors.