Introduction

People living in Detroit* are just as likely as people nationwide to say that their stress increased over the past year. However, it appears that fewer people in Detroit report experiencing extreme stress this year. More Detroit residents this year report that work is a significant source of stress, but they also appear to place more importance on how well they are doing in their careers and studies, and say they are doing better at reaching those goals.


*This report focuses only on the views of residents within the Detroit Metropolitan Statistical Area (2008 n=235; 2009 n=207; 2010 n=214; 2011 n=223; 2012 n=221) and the general population (2008 n=1791; 2009 n=1568; 2010 n=1134; 2011 n=1226; 2012 n=2020).
Perceptions of stress and its sources

Residents of Detroit say they are less likely to report experiencing extreme stress this year but they are just as likely as Americans overall to say their stress increased over the past year.

Sources of Stress: Work TrendPeople living in Detroit report an average stress level of 5.1 on a 10-point scale, where 1 is “little or no stress” and 10 is “a great deal of stress.” Comparatively, Detroit residents define a healthy level of stress as 3.7.

Fewer people in Detroit reported extreme stress (an 8, 9 or 10 on a 10-point scale) this year (19 percent vs. 24 percent in 2011).

Thirty-five percent of people in Detroit say their stress also increased over the past year, which is on par with Americans overall (35 percent).

Like elsewhere in the country, commonly reported sources of stress for Detroit residents are money (69 percent for adults in Detroit and adults overall), work (78 percent vs. 65 percent nationally) and the economy (65 percent vs. 61 percent nationally). However, more Detroit residents this year said that work was a significant source of stress than in the past several years (78 percent in 2012, 73 percent in 2011 and 69 percent in 2010).

Managing stress

Though Detroit residents are less likely than they were last year to say they are doing a good job of managing stress, more than half have tried to reduce their stress and they are just as likely as other Americans to say that psychologists can help with stress management.

Sixty-three percent of Detroit residents say managing stress is extremely or very important, but only 37 percent think they are doing an excellent or very good job of managing their stress.

More than half of Detroit residents say they feel they are doing enough to manage stress, a perception that appears to be on the decline over the past few years (54 percent in 2012, 59 percent in 2011 and 64 percent in 2010).

Over the past five years, more than half of Detroit adults have tried to reduce their stress (59 percent). Of those who tried to make a change, 51 percent say they are still trying.

The most commonly reported stress management techniques for residents of Detroit include reading (53 percent), exercising or walking (51 percent) and listening to music (46 percent).

People living in Detroit are as likely as other Americans to think that psychologists can help a great deal or a lot with stress management (47 percent for both).

Far more Detroit residents agree this year that psychologists can help a great deal or a lot with lifestyle and behavior changes (43 percent vs. 29 percent in 2011). Twelve percent of Detroit adults have been referred to a mental health professional.

Stress and well-being

Symptoms of StressWhile more Detroit residents report having experienced some symptoms of stress this year, the number saying their health is fair or poor has also increased.

The percentage of people in Detroit who say their health is fair or poor has increased from 16 percent in 2011 to 25 percent in 2012.

In Detroit, more people this year reported experiencing headaches (31 percent in 2012 vs. 25 percent in 2011), changes in sleeping habits (34 percent in 2012 vs. 30 percent in 2011) and being unable to concentrate (24 percent in 2012 vs. 19 percent in 2011) due to stress.

Slightly more Detroit residents this year place importance on both having good relationships with their families (78 percent in 2012 vs. 76 percent in 2011 say this is extremely or very important) and doing well in their careers or studies (62 percent in 2012 vs. 58 percent in 2011 say this is extremely or very important). It also appears they are doing a better job at achieving these goals:

  • Sixty-one percent in 2012 compared with 57 percent in 2011 say they are doing an excellent or very good job at having good relationships with their families.
  • Fifty percent in 2012 vs. 38 percent in 2011 say they are doing an excellent or very good job at doing well in their careers or studies.

Despite the importance Detroit residents place on various aspects of well-being, they appear to struggle, like others across the country, to meet healthy living goals:

  • Sixty-seven percent say getting enough sleep is extremely or very important, yet just 32 percent say they are doing an excellent or very good job at it.
  • Fifty-six percent say that eating healthy is extremely or very important, yet just 28 percent say they do an excellent or very good job.
  • Forty-eight percent say being physically active or fit is extremely or very important, yet just 23 percent say they are doing an excellent or very good job.
Health, lifestyle and behavior change

Lack of willpower and lack of time are commonly reported barriers to change for people living in Detroit.

Adults in Detroit who were recommended or decided to make a change cite a lack of willpower (33 percent) and a lack of time (23 percent) most commonly as barriers preventing them from being successful.

As in much of the country, less than half of adults living in Detroit rate their physical health care as top-notch, and only about a quarter say the same about their mental health care. However, they are more likely than other Americans to say that they frequently discuss health topics they believe to be important with their providers.

Thirty-eight percent of Detroit residents give their physical health care an “A” grade, while just 26 percent say the same about their mental health care.

Detroit residents are more likely than Americans overall to report that they discuss stress management with their health care provider (26 percent vs. 17 percent say this happens often or always).