Subjective Wellbeing

Stress

Stress is the non-specific response that a person might experience when faced with a demand for change (a stressor) [13]. While stress can stimulate positive responses, studies of the effects of stress on health are usually concerned with the negative influence stress can have on how people feel emotionally, mentally, and physically, and also how stress influences health behaviours. Long-term stress can increase the risk of poor health and wellbeing [14,15] and is associated with conditions like: high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity and diabetes, and depression or anxiety [16][17]. Stress may influence wellbeing through direct biological responses, or indirectly through unhealthy behaviours such as smoking, lack of exercise, or excessive alcohol consumption. Self-reported stress has been measured in the Canterbury Wellbeing Survey [11,17] since 2012, using a single question [18].

This indicator presents the proportion of those aged 18 years and over indicating that they experienced stress that has had a negative effect sometimes, most of the time or always in the past 12 months, as reported in the Canterbury Wellbeing Survey 2012 to 2018.

The figure shows a gradual decline in the proportion of respondents in greater Christchurch experiencing stress sometimes, most of the time or always, since the 2012 baseline. The current result is statistically significantly lower than all other years prior to 2017. The overall trend of reduction in the proportion of respondents experiencing stress sometimes, most of the time or always is statistically significant; dropping from 80 percent of respondents in 2012, to 67 percent in 2018.

The figure shows that the proportion of respondents reporting stress sometimes, most of the time, or always, for Selwyn District, Waimakariri District, and Christchurch City residents was not statistically significantly different in 2018 (65%, 65%, and 68%, respectively). While respondents from Selwyn District and Waimakariri District appear to have reported a lower frequency of stress overall between 2012 and 2018, these differences are mostly not statistically significant.

The figure shows the proportion of respondents reporting stress sometimes, most of the time, or always, for European respondents, Māori respondents, and for Pacific/Asian/Indian respondents (67.6%, 66.9%, and 71.3%, respectively, in 2018). While European respondents appear to have reported a slightly lower frequency of stress, overall, compared with Māori and Pacific/Asian/Indian respondents, between 2012 and 2018, these differences are not statistically significant (with the exception of European compared with Māori, for the two time-points, 09/2012 and 09/2013).

The figure shows the proportion of respondents reporting stress sometimes, most of the time, or always, by age group. The figure shows a clear pattern of less frequent self-reported stress for respondents aged 65 years and over. For this group, the proportion reporting stress at least sometimes has averaged approximately 10 percentage points less than for all of the other age groups, for the period from 2013 to 2018. These differences are statistically significant. Further, the stress level for the 65 years and over group was statistically significantly lower in 2017 and 2018, compared with all previous years.

The figure shows a clear pattern of a lower proportion of male respondents experiencing stress at least sometimes, compared with female respondents, throughout the time-series.  For male respondents, the proportion experiencing stress at least sometimes has been approximately 5 percentage points below that of female respondents, across all years in the time-series (65.0% and 70% respectively, in 2018). The difference is statistically significant at all time-points.

The figure shows the proportion of respondents reporting stress sometimes, most of the time, or always, for the annual household income groups <$30,000; $30,000–$60,000; $60,000–$100,000; $100,000+; for the years from 2012 to 2018. No statistically significant differences are evident in the proportion experiencing stress at least sometimes across the different income groups (with the exception of the <$30,000 income group having a higher proportion compared with the $100,000+ income group, at two time-points; 09/2012 and 09/2016).

The figure shows that a consistently larger proportion of respondents with a long-term health condition or disability reported experiencing stress sometimes, most of the time, or always, compared with those respondents without a long-term health condition or disability. The difference has averaged approximately ten percentage points across the time-series, from 2012 to 2018, and is statistically significant at all time-points. 

Data Sources

Source: Canterbury District Health Board.
Survey/data set: Canterbury Wellbeing Survey to 2018. Access publicly available data from the Community and Public Health (Canterbury DHB) website www.cph.co.nz/your-health/wellbeing-survey/
Source data frequency: Annually.

View technical notes and data tables for this indicator.

Updated: 21/11/2018