Perceived life stress, 2012

Stress carries several negative health consequences, including heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, as well as immune and circulatory complications.Note 1 Exposure to stress can also contribute to behaviours such as smoking, over-consumption of alcohol, and less-healthy eating habits.Note 2

In 2012, 22.7% (6.4 million) of Canadians aged 15 and older reported that most days were ‘quite a bit or extremely stressful,’ down from 23.6% in 2011.

Since 2003, females were more likely than males to report that most days were quite a bit or extremely stressful.  In 2012, the rate for females was 24.3%, while for males the rate was 21.1% (Chart 1).

Chart 1 Percentage  reporting most days as ‘quite a bit or extremely’ stressful, by sex, household  population aged 15 or older, Canada, 2003 to 2012

Description for Chart 1

The rate of daily stress was higher for females than males in all age groups except for those in the 35 to 44 and 45 to 54 age groups.  In particular, 21.2% of females aged 15 to 19 reported stress in their daily lives, compared with 13.4% of males in that age group (Chart 2).

Daily stress rates were highest in the core working ages (35 to 54), peaking at about 30% in the 35 to 44 and 45 to 54 age groups. People in these age groups are most likely to be managing multiple career and family responsibilities.

Reported stress decreased at older ages, with seniors the least likely to find their days stressful (11.3%).

Among those who reported that their days were quite a bit or extremely stressful, 84.1% said that they were satisfied or very satisfied with life, compared with 96.0% of those who did not find their days very stressful.

Chart 2 Percentage reporting  most days as ‘quite a bit or extremely’ stressful, household population aged 15  or older, by age group and sex, Canada, 2012

Description for Chart 2

The proportion of residents who reported that their days were ‘quite a bit or extremely’ stressful was lower than the national average (22.7%) in:

  • Newfoundland and Labrador (13.2%)
  • Prince Edward Island (16.4%)
  • Nova Scotia (16.6%)
  • New Brunswick (18.7%)
  • Saskatchewan (19.5%)

The proportion of residents who reported that their days were ‘quite a bit or extremely’ stressful was higher than the national average only in Quebec (26.4%).

Residents of the other provinces and territories reported rates that were about the same as the national average.


End notes

  1. Heart and Stroke Foundation. “Heart Disease.” Health Information. Last updated April 2010. http://www.heartandstroke.ca (accessed May 11, 2010).
  2. Statistics Canada. 2001. “Stress and well–being.” Health Reports. Vol. 12, no. 3. Statistics Canada Catalogue no. 82-003. p. 22. http://www.statcan.gc.ca/studies-etudes/82-003/archive/2001/5626-eng.pdf (accessed May 11, 2010).

References

Heart and Stroke Foundation. “Heart Disease.” Health Information. Last updated April 2010. http://www.heartandstroke.ca (accessed May 11, 2010).

Orpana, Heather, Louise Lemyre and Ronald Gravel. 2009. “Income and psychological distress: The role of the social environment.” Health Reports. Vol. 20, no. 1. March. Statistics Canada Catalogue no. 82-003. http://www.statcan.gc.ca/bsolc/olc-cel/olc-cel?lang=eng&catno=82-003-X200900110772 (May 11, 2010).

Shields, Margot. 2006. “Stress and depression in the employed population.” Health Reports. Vol. 17. no. 4. October. Statistics Canada Catalogue no. 82-003. p. 11–29. http://www.statcan.gc.ca/studies-etudes/82-003/archive/2006/9495-eng.pdf (accessed May 11, 2010).

Statistics Canada. 2001. “Stress and well–being.” Health Reports. Vol. 12, no. 3. Statistics Canada Catalogue no. 82-003. p. 22. http://www.statcan.gc.ca/studies-etudes/82-003/archive/2001/5626-eng.pdf (accessed May 11, 2010).

Data

Additional data from the Canadian Community Health Survey are available from CANSIM table 105–0501.

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