Feeling stressed? It's more likely in some U.S. states than others
by Denise Mann
In the study, the researchers looked at rates of mental distress by state among 2.4 million adults across two time periods -- 1993 through 2001 and 2003 through 2006 -- as part of the ongoing Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System study. Overall, the prevalence for frequent mental distress across both time periods was 9.4 percent, with the lowest rate in Hawaii and the highest rate in Kentucky.
Why the difference? It may be because residents in some areas of the country are more likely than others to have health conditions such as disability or diabetes, untreated mental conditions like anxiety or depression, high unemployment rates, risky behaviors including cigarette smoking and alcohol abuse, and/or social circumstances such as lower incomes.
An area centered on Kentucky showed high levels of frequent mental distress that remained elevated over time, while in other parts of the country (such as the upper Midwest) low levels of frequent mental distress remained low over time, the study showed.
Overall, though, frequent mental distress seems to be on the rise. The rate of frequent mental distress increased by at least 1 percentage point in 27 states, and by more than 4 percentage points in Mississippi, Oklahoma, and West Virginia from the first time period to the second time period.
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