Stress in America: results of the American Psychological Association’s survey

Research Findings and Resources

Each year, the American Psychological Association releases its Stress in America™ survey, which looks at sources of stress and the impact of stress on Americans (APA, 2016). Even though our collective stress has gone down since the poll’s inception in 2006, in January 2017, the poll showed an increase in overall stress. More than half of Americans have reported that the current political climate is a “very or somewhat significant source of stress.” (APA, 2016).

The followup survey conducted in January 2017 after the election was conducted online with 1,019 adults responding.

The poll conducted in January 2017 shows higher reporting of symptoms of stress with many respondents indicating the source of their stress as personal safety and terrorism.

The results of the poll show a “statistically significant increase in stress since the first time the survey was conducted in 2007.” Most commonly reported factors adding to stress included the economy, terrorism and mass shootings and/or gun violence.

Stress Management

According to the survey, Americans manage stress by exercising or walking, going online, watching television (two or more hours a day), spending time with friends or family, reading, praying and eating.

Stress by Demographics

  • Higher stress is reported among Americans with lower incomes, divided along a household income of $50,000 a year.
  • Younger Americans (millennials and Gen Xers) are reporting higher average stress and increases in stress compared with older Americans. 
  • Millennials are worried about police violence toward minorities and think this will be a significant source of stress in the next few years.
  • Stress has increased from August 2016 to January 2017 across racial demographics.