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Contact: Shilo Rea
shilo@cmu.edu
412-268-6094
Carnegie Mellon University

Distributions of Psychological Stress in the United States from 1983, 2006 and 2009: Age

Caption: Until now, comparing stress levels in individuals across the United States over time was not possible due to a lack of historical data that tracks stress using accepted comparable measures. New research from Carnegie Mellon University’s Sheldon Cohen and Denise Janicki-Deverts used telephone survey data from 1983 that polled 2,387 US residents over the age of 18 and online surveys from 2006 and 2009 that polled 2,000 American adults each. All three surveys used the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS), a measure created by Cohen to assess the degree to which situations in life are perceived as stressful. The results show that as Americans age, they experience less stress and that retirees consistently report low levels of stress, indicating that retirement is not experienced as an adverse event.

Credit: Carnegie Mellon University

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Related news release: Who's stressed in the US? Carnegie Mellon researchers study adult stress levels from 1983-2009


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