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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.

Friday Quick Hits: 

  • Advanced Style. Twenty-something photographer Ari Seth Cohen has been shooting New York's 60+ set, whose images he collects on his blog, "Advanced Style," and published in a book of the same name last month. A lot of these older women "don't have a job, they don't have to impress their bosses, their children, their lovers," said Cohen. In dressing, "they have no one to please but themselves."
  • A century of weather. Nearing 100 years old, meteorologist Robert Simpson--who helped develop the hurricane wind scale--has seen firsthand some of the worst weather disasters in U.S. history.

Photo: Sporrer/Rupp / Cultura / Aurora Photos

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