Stress epidemic threatens to put parents and kids at risk



Posted on November 3, 2009 at 6:57 PM

Updated Friday, Jan 4 at 10:44 AM

It may be no shock to learn americans are stressed out, but in the latest snapshot from the American Psychological Association, the annual stress survey has some surprises, especially for parents.

"We were really kinda surprised to see that children and youth are reporting higher levels of stress I think than their parents realize," said Katherine Nordal of the American Psychological Association.

In fact, only three percent of parents rated their children's stress as extreme, but almost a quarter of the surveyed kids did.

Thirty-six percent of children worried more this year than last, and 45 percent reported difficulty sleeping.

It seems the younger generations may be following parents' stressed-out examples.

In the survey of more than 1,500 adults, a whopping 89 percent reported significant stress. Forty-two percent said they worried more than last year.

And money and work were still the biggest stressors.

Two thirds of adults surveyed reported one or more chronic illnesses - a great concern to doctors.

"To the degree we fail to manage stress, we put ourselves at risk for long term physical and emotional consequences," said Dr. Jeff Janata, UH Case Medical Center psychologist.

Doctors say it's important to try to lower stress levels through healthy activities like exercise and to encourage your kids to do the same.