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Posted on December 19, 2013 by West Corporation 


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TeleVox™ Report Highlights Stress As Negatively Impacting the Health of Americans

With the demands of everyday life resulting in more stress, TeleVox technology allows doctors to communicate with patients more regularly, promoting a less stressful lifestyle

  • All Work, No Play: 55 percent of Americans reported stress during their everyday life, while 64 percent of Americans are stressed during a typical workday.
  • Communication Is Key: Two-thirds (66 percent) of providers said that emails, text messages, or phone calls with personalized tips from doctors between visits would help patients better manage their overall health, including their stress level.
  • Negative Effects: More than half of Americans (52 percent) and nearly two-thirds (65 percent) of providers said that stress is negatively affecting Americans’ lives.
  • More Active, Less Stressed: 88 percent of doctors said they would recommend exercise as a tool to combat stress, while just 58 percent of Americans said their doctor has suggested exercise as a way to control their stress level.

Mobile, Ala., November 21, 2013 — More than half of Americans, 55 percent, said they feel stressed during their everyday life, according to a Healthy World Report released today by TeleVox entitled A Stressed Nation: Americans Search for a Healthy Balance. In a nation where we find ourselves consistently being measured for performance — ranging from career accomplishments to classroom success — it comes as no surprise that people across the nation are stressed to the max. Around the country, Americans are struggling to find ways to deal with the extreme levels of stress they are facing. Learning how to manage stress, or even use it as a motivator, is a necessary part of a healthy lifestyle.

Unfortunately, many Americans haven’t developed the proper techniques to manage their stress. In fact, the American Psychological Association states that 20 percent of Americans reported stress levels that are extreme (8, 9 or 10 on a 10-point scale), with the mean stress level a 4.9. This stress is prevalent in many aspects of Americans’ lives. As reported by A Stressed Nation, stress is a part of many people’s daily lives:

  • Close to two-thirds, 64 percent, of Americans reported stress during a typical workday.
  • Nearly half (44 percent) of Americans said they could do a better job of managing their stress.
  • 52 percent of Americans reported that stress is negatively impacting their life.

In order to manage the high levels of stress, however, the majority of healthcare providers recommend something that each one of us can do: exercise. Obviously, taking ten deep breaths or stepping away from the situation for a minute can resolve an issue temporarily, but exercise can be a daily way to relieve excess stress and release healthy endorphins. Eighty-eight percent of doctors said they would recommend exercise as a tool to combat stress. This needs to be communicated more from doctor to patient, however, because according to A Stressed Nation, only 58 percent of Americans said their doctor has suggested exercise as a way to control their stress level.

Without successful management of stress, Americans could face a variety of negative side effects. According to A Stressed Nation, 52 percent of Americans reported that stress is negatively impacting their life. And an even higher number, 65 percent, of healthcare providers said that stress is negatively impacting their patients’ lives. Fortunately, healthcare providers can help patients improve their management of stress. Two-thirds (66 percent) of providers said that emails, text messages, or phone calls with personalized tips from doctors between visits would help patients better manage their overall health, including their stress level. Additionally, 61 percent of Americans would be interested in and/or happy to receive communications from their doctor with tips on how to manage stress.

Finally, it is important to note that better stress management will lead to a better overall lifestyle for many Americans. According to A Stressed Nation, 43 percent of Americans said that learning how stress affects other aspects of their life would help them better manage their overall health and lifestyle. Carrying stress over from one area of life to another can not only ruin relationships in that area, but can put a negative spin on what would otherwise be enjoyable activities. Understanding how to manage stress in each different area can give Americans more control of their lives while leading to a healthy lifestyle.

“Healthcare providers across America need to step up and help patients better manage their levels of stress” said Scott Zimmerman, President of TeleVox. “By leveraging technology to stay engaged with patients between office visits, doctors can provide patients with the support necessary to implement changes that will result in a less stressed lifestyle.”

Children Bring Added Joys, Added Stress to Parents

There is no doubt that adding kids to a family brings joy and happiness. But it is also no surprise that it creates more work and more responsibility. According to A Stressed Nation: Americans Search for a Healthy Balance, 65 percent of American parents reported being stressed during everyday life, while just 49 percent of non-parents said they are affected on a daily basis. Obviously, taking care of children—in addition to other responsibilities all adults have—adds stress to parents’ lives.

Throwing all of these stressors into one makes far more parents stressed at the current moment than non-parents. According to A Stressed Nation, 46 percent of American parents—compared with 29 percent of non-parents—reported feeling stressed at the present moment. And while stress can be a positive, and even used as a motivator in some cases, 59 percent of parents said that stress has negatively impacted their overall health. Negative stress can lead to chronic headaches, stomach pains, and even heart issues or stroke. Understanding ways to manage negative stress is key for parents to handle high-pressure situations. As A Stressed Nation highlighted, 53 percent of parents and 39 percent of non-parents said they could do a better job of managing their stress.

It is time for healthcare providers to give Americans the encouragement they need by opening additional lines of communication. And more than half of adults—66 percent of parents and 57 percent of non-parents—said they would be interested in and/or happy to receive communication from their doctor with tips on how to manage stress.

“Parents have so many irons in the fire that stress is naturally going to happen,” Zimmerman said. “However, until patients and doctors start working together to successfully manage stress levels, parents will continue to see the negative health effects.”

Ageless Stressors

Many things get better with age: As cheese ages the flavor is better, and many adult beverages take time to acquire the perfect taste. It is even said that while parents love having their own kids, becoming a grandparent is like having a second dessert. But when it comes to stress among Americans, young adults are far more stressed than the older generations. Many young Americans are fresh into the workplace— starting out on their own and beginning to raise a family—all of which come with stress. Unlike younger adults, many older adults have established a comfortable lifestyle for themselves. They are reaching retirement age and the stressors of everyday life are decreasing.

Part of the problem lies in the fact that many members of the young generations do not know how to properly manage their stress. According to A Stressed Nation: Americans Search for a Healthy Balance, more 18-34 year olds than any other age group reported they feel somewhat or very stressed at the current moment—45 percent of the youngest group, 37 percent of 35-44 year olds and 38 percent of 45-54 year olds. Additionally, more than half of all age groups—led by 60 percent of the 18-34 year olds—said that stress has negatively impacted their overall health. Without a proper mechanism to release stress, Americans are facing significant health problems.

This is where healthcare providers can step in. Providers can initiate wellness visits, send communications with information on how to successfully manage stress, and follow up with their patients to check their progress in following current treatment plans. Currently, according to A Stressed Nation, Americans of all generations reported they would be interested in and/or happy to receive communications from their doctor with tips on how to manage stress. Unfortunately, just over a third of Americans (42 percent of 35-44 year olds, 38 percent of 45-54 year olds, and 34 percent 18-34 year olds) have taken the step of discussing the negative impact of stress on their health with their doctor. This communication needs to occur more often, and both patients and providers should place a higher level of importance on ensuring that stress is managed successfully as part of a healthy lifestyle.

Stress Impacts the Health of Both Genders

While it is no surprise women have a great deal of responsibility on their plate, leading to more stress in their daily lives, men also find themselves battling stress on a daily basis. And while women reported a majority of their stress to be in the home, more men than women believe stress is negatively affecting their health. It is important that both men and women find healthy ways to manage their stress—whatever their stressors may be—before it takes a negative toll on their health.

As reported by A Stressed Nation: Americans Search for a Healthy Balance, just one third of American men (32 percent) have taken the step of discussing the impact stress has on their health with their doctor. But healthcare providers can provide the missing link between the stressed world we live in and a more relaxed nation in better health. Getting information into the hands of patients on how to better manage stress is the key. Nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of American men, eight percent higher than American women, would be interested in and/or happy to receive communications from their doctor with tips on how to manage their stress.

The two biggest differences between the amount of stress reported by men and women comes in everyday life and the emotional toll stress takes. While a third of Americans—33 percent of men and 36 percent of women—reported they feel somewhat or very stressed at the current moment, just 49 percent of men said they are stressed during everyday life. That is 11 percent lower than the 60 percent of women that are feeling stressed during their everyday life. Why is this? Typically, men tend to devote more time to their job, focusing on advancing in the workplace with promotions, while women try to balance a career with duties on the home front. And while men are taking on more responsibilities in the home, the stress level associated with this doesn’t seem to be quite the same.

“Both men and women are constantly faced with a variety of stressors daily,” said Zimmerman. “Whether it’s at the workplace or at home, men and women alike need to talk with healthcare providers to find the best way to successfully manage stress and use their stressors as motivation.”

A Stressed Nation from Coast to Coast

Every region across America has its own distinct description: Midwesterners live a modest lifestyle. They are, and have always been, a blue-collar, working-class region. Thanks to the mild climate outside of winter months and surplus of outdoor activities in the region, many Northeasterners are thought of as being in great physical condition. Much like the Northeast, the stress levels of the West can easily be described in two distinct ways: There is the laid back, stress-free surfing crowd, juxtaposed with the career-driven work force. And the South is a region where Americans make their living using the resources around them. Think of the Deep South, and there are fisherman casting their nets, hoping to bring in enough of a catch to provide for their families. Move a little north and oil fields litter the red-dirt of Texas.

But one thing that is a constant across America is stress. It isn’t something that any American in any region can avoid, but rather must learn to manage. As reported by A Stressed Nation: Americans Search for a Healthy Balance, more than half of all Americans—with 59 percent of Midwesterners, 58 percent of Northeasterners, 53 percent of Westerners and 52 percent of Southerners—said that they are currently stressed during their everyday life. And led by the Midwest at 49 percent, nearly half of all Americans admit they could currently do a better job of managing their stress.

Unfortunately, too many Americans are struggling with how to handle their stress. Led by 61 percent of Midwesterners, more than half of Americans admit that stress has negatively impacted their overall health. Additionally, less than half of all regions have actually taken the step of discussing the negative impact of stress on their health with their doctor. Healthcare providers can step up and help their patients deal with this stress by increasing communication between visits, through email, phone calls, and text messages.

Creating a Healthy World

No matter your age, gender, or location, preventive action will not only improve patient outcomes and reduce healthcare costs, but it will also improve quality of life and save lives. Patients want to be involved in their care, but need the tools to stay educated, encouraged and motivated to follow through for their own health. Text messages, phone calls and emails from physician get patients’ attention while providing this desired support and involvement.

Increasing patient communication efforts will require forward-thinking healthcare practitioners who understand that their continued involvement is critical to ensuring a healthy future for our patients. Many physicians understand that engaging patients between office visits can inspire them to embrace and build the habits to follow through with treatment plans. They know personalized, ongoing engagement can activate positive lifestyle changes that will help people lead healthy lives.

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  • Download the full report for a deeper look at the findings.

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