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Nearly 1-in-5 New Zealanders suffer stress

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (New Zealand), October 2011 — September 2012 (n = 11,770).

The latest Roy Morgan Research findings show 628,000 (17.7%) New Zealanders aged 14+ report experiencing stress in the last 12 months. Women are more likely to suffer stress (22.1%) than men (13.1%), as are people who live in the South Island (19.4%) compared to those in the North Island (17.2%). These results are from the Roy Morgan Single Source survey for the 12 months to September 2012.

Despite much discussion about stress in today’s society, the incidence of stress among New Zealanders has remained remarkably constant over the last four years.

Stress levels differ by generation and can vary over time, as each generation grows older and moves through the different life stages. Currently, the younger Generations Y and Z are the most likely to have experienced stress in the last 12 months (22.4% of Gen Y and 21.4% of Gen Z). The incidence of stress among Gen Y has actually increased over the last year, up from 19.1% in 2011. The proportion of Gen Z who suffer stress has increased significantly in the last three years (up from 13.1% in 2009), and saw them overtaking Gen X for the first time in five years.


Stress by Generation

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Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (New Zealand), October 2011 — September 2012 (n = 11,770).

Behind Gen Y and Gen Z are Gen X, with 19.8% reporting stress in the last 12 months, and remaining fairly static over the past few years. The oldest generation, Pre-Boomers, are the least likely to experience stress, with only 7.9% reporting stress in the past 12 months, which is down slightly on last year’s result of 8.4%.

By comparison, 21.4% of the youngest generation, Gen Z, reported stress in the 12 months to September 2012, which is up on the previous year and a significant increase compared to 2007, when only 12.1% of Gen Z reported stress.

Pip Elliott, General Manager, Roy Morgan Research NZ, says:

“A wide range of factors can contribute to stress, including work, finance, health & family matters. In terms of how this has changed historically for the North and South Island, the biggest increase was among those who live in the South Island, increasing from 16.5% in 2011 to 19.4% in 2012.

“It’s accepted that stress is a part of life and most of us can expect to experience different levels of stress at different times, particularly in response to certain factors. It is important, however, that we’re able to recognise when stress becomes so extreme or prolonged that it causes the sufferer to be in distress, potentially leading not only to physical health problems but also mental health issues such as depression and anxiety.

“With Christmas around the corner, it’s a timely reminder for anyone suffering extreme stress to reach out and start a conversation or seek assistance.”