Methodology

The Stress in America Survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of the American Psychological Association between August 3 and 27, 2010, among 1,134 adults aged 18+ who reside in the U.S., including 100 adults who are parents of children aged 8 – 17. In addition to the national sample, an oversample of 937 adults who are parents of children aged 8 – 17 also were interviewed, for a total of 1,037 parents. This report also includes the results of a YouthQuery survey conducted online between August 18 and 24, 2010, among 1,136 young people aged 8 – 17 years old. In this report, children aged 8 – 12 are considered tweens and teens are defined as children 13 – 17.*

When answering questions about their children, if a parent had more than one child, they were instructed to think only about the child whose birthday was most recent. Children were instructed to answer questions about the adult they live with most of the time. Parents and children interviewed for the survey were not matched pairs.

Body Mass Index (BMI) in this report was calculated by using self-reported weight and height. The BMI categories are defined as the following: underweight (less than 18.5), normal weight (18.5 – 24.9), overweight (25 – 29.9) and obese (30+).

The four generations noted in this report are defined as the following: Millennials (19 – 31 year-olds), Generation X (32 – 45 year-olds), Boomers (46 – 64 year-olds) and Matures (65 years and older).

Results were weighted as needed for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income among the entire population. For each of the city reports, results were weighted as needed for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income within the specific Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSAs) for each city as designated by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Propensity score weighting also was used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online.

MSAs are a formal definition of metropolitan areas produced by OMB. These geographic areas are delineated on the basis of central urbanized areas — contiguous counties of relatively high population density. Counties containing the core urbanized area are known as the central counties of the MSA. Additional surrounding counties (known as outlying counties) can be included in the MSA if these counties have strong social and economic ties to the central counties as measured by commuting and employment. Note that some areas within these outlying counties may actually be rural in nature. For the 2010 Stress in America Study an oversample was collected of the following MSAs: Atlanta, Chicago, Denver, Detroit, Los Angeles, New York, Seattle and Washington, DC.

All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error, which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, Harris Interactive avoids the words “margin of error” as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted random samples with 100 percent response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.

Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Interactive surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the U.S. population aged 18+.  Because the sample is based on those who were invited and agreed to participate in the Harris Interactive online research panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

* Throughout the report, data from the 2010 survey are compared to data from previous studies conducted in 2007, 2008 and 2009.