Perceived life stress 2008

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The negative health consequences of stress include high blood pressure and immune and circulatory complications. In addition, exposure to stress can contribute to behaviours such as smoking, over consumption of alcohol, and less healthy eating habits.

In 2008, 22.3% of Canadians aged 15 or older reported that most days were extremely or quite a bit stressful, about the same rate as in 2007.

Chart 1


Chart 1: Percentage reporting most days quite a bit or extremely stressful, by sex, household population aged 15 or older, Canada, 2001 to 2008

Overall, women were more likely than men to report that most days were quite a bit or extremely stressful. In particular at ages 15 to 19, young women were much more likely than young men to report stress in their daily lives (20.0% versus 12.8%).

Daily stress rates were highest in the core working ages 35 to 54, peaking at more than 28% in the 35 to 44 and 45 to 54 age groups. These are the age groups most likely to be managing the multiple roles associated with career and family responsibilities.

Stress tapered off at older ages, with seniors being the least likely to find their days stressful (10.4%).

Chart 2


Chart 2: Percentage reporting most days quite a bit or extremely stressful, by age group and sex, household population aged 15 or older, Canada, 2008

Among those who reported that their days were quite a bit or extremely stressful, 81.6% said that they were satisfied or very satisfied with life, compared with 95.7% of those who did not find their days very stressful.

Since 2001, urban residents have reported daily stress rates about 2 percentage points higher than those of rural residents. In 2008, 22.7% of urban dwellers, compared with 20.5% of rural dwellers found most days to be quite a bit or extremely stressful.

Only Quebec residents (26.0%) reported daily stress rates higher than the national average. Rates in Ontario, Alberta, British Columbia, Yukon, and Nunavut were about the same as Canada's average, with other provinces and territories being below.


Additional information from the Canadian Community Health Survey is available from CANSIM table 105-0501.


Income and psychological distress: The role of the social environment. Orpana HM, Lemyre L, Gravel R. 2009; 20(1): 21-28.
Stress and depression in the employed population. Shields M. 2006; 17(4): 11-29.
Stress, health and the benefit of social support. Shields M. 2004; 15(1): 9-38.

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