By Lisa Cannon Green
Americans work too much and sleep too little. They spend too much money and fear too much crime.
It adds up to a lot of stress—especially in Louisiana.
A new study from WalletHub finds stress varies widely across the country, with the nation’s most-stressed state, Louisiana, scoring more than twice as high as laid-back Minnesota on factors contributing to stress.
After weighing 38 stress factors, the study ranks states overall and in four categories:
Most stressed by work—Alaska. With the most average hours worked per week and the third lowest job security, Alaska tops the category that also considers commute times, unemployment rates, and other work-related factors.
Most stressed by money—Mississippi. Credit scores are the nation’s lowest and the poverty rate is highest in Mississippi. The category also measures such factors such as income, debt, personal bankruptcy, housing costs, and economic confidence.
Most stressed by family issues—Nevada. Second only to the District of Columbia in divorce rate, Nevada ranks as the state most stressed by family issues. Other factors in this category include single parenthood, child-care costs, and parental leave policies.
Most stressed by health and safety issues—West Virginia. Residents of West Virginia get less sleep per night on average than people in any other state except Hawaii. Only Arkansas has a higher share of adults in fair or poor health. The category also considers such factors as mental health, physical activity, bullying, crime rate, and health insurance coverage.
Stress factors can multiply as people turn to unhealthy coping behaviors, Vanderbilt University professor Velma McBride Murry told WalletHub.
Reducing stress, she says, “involves connecting with supportive people in your life.”
“Having someone to talk with and be affirmed can reduce anxiety, create sense of calm, promote psychological well-being, and help individuals respond better to stress,” she says.
The top 10 most stressed states, according to WalletHub:
- New Mexico
- West Virginia
And the 10 least stressed:
- South Dakota
- North Dakota
- Well-being is down—how churches can lift it up
- Handling the stress of ministry
- Does social media lead to social stress?
- 5 ways to help stressed-out women in your church
- Is your teen stressed?
LISA CANNON GREEN (@lisacgreen) is senior editor of Facts & Trends.