More than three-quarters of adults live with at least one source of excessive stress. Not surprisingly, money is the most likely cause.
It is hardly news that a majority of adult Canadians are stressed out about their finances. With household debt at a record high, unemployment stuck above 7% and a tentative recovery that today looks less steady thanks to Washington politics, it stands to reason that many of us feel anxious.
The 2013 Sun Life Canadian Health IndexTM makes clear not just how widespread this angst is, but also how many different ways we’re finding to worry about money.
We asked respondents if they are experiencing one or more sources of “excessive” or “uncomfortable” stress. More than three-quarters (77%) answered yes. That’s five percentage points greater than the result we saw in the 2012 survey.
The most common stressor is “personal or household finances.” Forty-one per cent of Canadians cited that as a source of excessive stress. But that’s just one example. More than health or any other driver, money and career issues are weighing us down: 29% said “trying to maintain a budget;” 26%, “unexpected expenses;” 25%, “my work life;” 23%, “saving enough for retirement;” 14%, “the state of the economy;” and another 14%, “trying to find a job.”
As was the case last year, young adults are the most likely to be troubled by their stress levels. Among Canadians aged 18 to 24, 84% said they have at least one source of excessive stress in their lives. The next-highest result was among respondents 35 to 44 (83% said the same). Other age groups reporting excessive stress: 78% of those 25 to 34; 81% of those 45 to 54; 75% of those 55 to 64; and 63% of those 65 or older.
While it is clear that we grow more capable of managing stress as we age, the primary drivers of stress among 18-to-24-year-old Canadians suggest that it’s tough for young people to establish themselves in today’s economy. Two of the top three drivers were “personal or household finances” (40% said it was a source of excessive stress) and “trying to find a job” (39% said the same). The top source was “personal relationships” (45%). The numbers told a similar story last year.
Regionally, the results are remarkably consistent. In B.C., 75% described at least one source of excessive stress. The same is true of 75% in Alberta; 73% in Saskatchewan; 80% in Manitoba; 79% in Ontario; 77% in Quebec and 77% in Atlantic Canada.
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