New Study Find Parents Less Stressed Than Non-Parents

By: John McKenzie, ABC News
By: John McKenzie, ABC News

Ever think your kids are driving you crazy? A new study finds it's probably not true--parents actually have less psychological distress than non-parents.

From the day they come home from the hospital until you drop them off at college, kids bring joy and stress into a parent's life.

But a new study finds that parents actually report fewer psychological problems than their non-parenting counterparts.

Researchers analyzed a national survey of more than 33,000 American adults. They found that nine-percent of parents said they had experienced serious psychological distress in the last year, compared to 12-percent of non-parents.

Younger women with lower incomes were the most likely to have severe mental stress.

Experts say that parents with a strong social support network through friends and family may be able to recover more quickly from psychological problems.

But the authors say that being a parent does not mean immunity from serious stress.

They estimate more than five-million American parents suffer from severe distress each year, with depression among the most common disorders.

They recommend that doctors be attuned to stressed out parents and make sure they get help before it starts to affect the children.

There are varying degrees of stress--one of them being chronic.

This is the grinding stress that wears people away day after day and year after year.

Chronic stress comes when a person never sees a way out of a miserable situation.


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