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The Takeaway: Study Shows Stress Decreases With Age

If you’re feeling more stressed than ever these days, you’re not alone: A scientific analysis of stress over the past 25 years finds that American stress levels increased 18 percent for women and 24 percent for men from 1983-2009. But there’s a silver lining: The study also found that stress decreases as we age.

Thirty-year-olds have less stress than 20-year-olds, and 40-year-olds have less stress than 30-year-olds,” said lead researcher Sheldon Cohen.

Cohen and his Carnegie Mellon colleague analyzed data from three surveys (one in 1983, one in 2006 and one in 2009) and about 6,300 people, in what’s considered the first historical comparison of stress levels across the United States. The results show increases in stress across almost every demographic category.

In all three surveys, however, those 55 and older showed the lowest levels of stress.

Those most negatively affected by the recent recession, in terms of stress, were white, middle-aged men with college educations and full-time jobs.

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Photo: Sporrer/Rupp / Cultura / Aurora Photos