Findings from a new study suggest that parents are "grossly underestimating" the impact that their stress has on their children.
Findings from a new survey released by the American Psychological Association shed light on the long-term impact that chronic stress can have on the physical and emotional health of families.
In the survey—which was conducted online by Harris Interactive—authors unearthed a troublesome trend emerging among families in which parents underestimate how much stress their children experience and the impact their own stress has on their children. Children as young as eight years old report that they experience physical and emotional health consequences often associated with stress, they found.
"America is at a critical crossroads when it comes to stress and our health," said Norman B. Anderson, PhD, APA’s chief executive officer and executive vice president, in a statement. "Year after year nearly three-quarters of Americans say they experience stress at levels that exceed what they define as healthy, putting themselves at risk for developing chronic illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes and depression. Stress is hurting our physical and emotional health and contributing to some of the leading causes of death in this country."
Other findings from the survey are as follows:
"Even though children know when their parents are stressed and admit that it directly affects them, parents are grossly underestimating the impact that their stress is having on their children," said Katherine C. Nordal, PhD. "It’s critical that parents communicate with their children about how to identify stress triggers and manage stress in healthy ways while they’re young and still developing behavioral patterns."
To read the “2010 Stress in America” report, click here.
How do you address the issue of stress with your parents? Do you speak with both children and their parents about stress triggers and how it can be managed more effectively?