Money, however, is the main cause of stress in America, according to a poll by the American Psychological Association, which released the results Feb. 4. That financial stress is impacting health by causing some people to put health care needs on hold, according to Stress in America: Paying with Our Health Survey, conducted for the APA by the Harris Poll, which gathered information from more than 3,000 adults in August 2014.
Money worries are a major cause of conflict in relationships, the survey found. That’s no surprise. The broader impact of that finding from the survey is that financial stress affects a substantial percentage of relationships – about one-third of adults with partners.
“Regardless of the economic climate, money and finances have remained a top stressor since our survey began in 2007,” said American Psychological Association CEO Norman B. Anderson in a press release detailing the results of the survey. “The year’s survey shows that stress related to financial issues could have a significant impact on Americans’ health and well-being.”
The financial stress gap is widening between the haves and have-nots, which the survey divided at an income level of $50,000. For those living on the lower side of that income divide, stress has increased since the survey began in 2007. Back then, those on both sides of the $50,000 mark reported the same level of money worries.
“All Americans, particularly those groups most affected by stress – which include women, younger adults and those with lower incomes – need to address the issue soon than later in order to better their health and well-being,” said Anderson.
The first step in addressing stress caused by money is to recognize your concerns. Trying to ignore troubling bank statements or credit card bills or feeling embarrassed or ashamed about them will only increase the stress. Magic thinking isn’t likely to help either, like planning to win the lottery. Taking on a second or third job may be a two-edged sword – it might address some money problems in the short-term, but it also has the potential to detract from sources that stablize and enrich your life, like family time or recreation.
Here are five tips from the American Psychological Association that can help you move toward financial health, which in turn, can help reduce stress:
More information and suggestions for dealing with financial stress are available from the American Psychological Association’s online resources, including the APA Help Center webpage and the APA Mind/Body Health Campaign blog.
American Psychological Association, “American Psychological Association Survey Shows Money Weighing on Americans’ Health Nationwide,” Feb. 4, 2015.
American Psychological Association, “Face the Numbers: Moving Past Financial Denial,” 2015.