Residents in the D.C. metropolitan region feel more overwhelmed by stress than the rest of the country, according to a new study by the American Psychological Association.
However, a majority of area residents also believe that stress can be a benefit, providing the drive to get through challenging situations.
The APA just released its annual "Stress in America" study, a survey that measures the amount of stress the country feels and how it impacts people's lives.
“Various studies have shown that chronic stress is a major driver of chronic illness, which in turn is a major driver of escalating health care costs in this country," said APA CEO Norman B. Anderson. He says more public health resources should be devoted to reducing stress nationally.
Around the country, the study says people who suffer from chronic illness, such as obesity or depression, and those who serve as caregivers reported particularly high levels of stress.
Regionally, residents reported an average level of everyday stress similar to the rest of the country. Researchers asked people to rate their level of stress on a 1 - 10 scale, with 1 being the lowest. In our area, residents averaged a stress level of 5.3.
Like most people around the U.S., the area respondents said the top sources of stress are work, money, and economy.
But Washington's residents seem to see a silver lining in that stress that others don't. The APA reports 87 percent of respondents said stress "can be beneficial in terms of providing drive and energy." Nationally, just 77 percent of respondents agreed.
Forty percent of area residents report feeling "overwhelmed" by stress, compared to 34 percent nationally.
Despite these concerns, the study says that people in the area are overall happier than the rest of the country. More area residents say they are generally satisfied with their lives, 72 percent, than the national average, 66 percent.