Stress is the non-specific response that a person might experience when faced with a demand for change (a stressor) . 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 .
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 2019.
The figure shows an overall gradual decline in the proportion of respondents in greater Christchurch experiencing stress sometimes, most of the time or always, since the 2012 baseline. The overall trend of reduction in the proportion of respondents experiencing stress sometimes, most of the time, or always is statistically significant; dropping from 79.6 percent of respondents in 2012, to 71.6 percent in 2020. However, the 2020 result shows a statistically significant increase in the proportion of respondents experiencing stress, compared with the 2019 result (71.6% in 2020 up from 67.9% in 2019).
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 (71.9%, 74.9%, and 69.5%, respectively, in 2020). 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 2020, 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 to 74 years, and 75 years and over. For these two age groups, the proportion reporting stress at least sometimes has averaged approximately 10 percentage points lower than for all of the other age groups, for the period from 2013 to 2020. These differences are statistically significant at almost all time-points in the series.
The figure shows a clear pattern of a lower proportion of male respondents experiencing stress at least some of the time, compared with female respondents, throughout the time-series. For male respondents, the proportion experiencing stress at least some of the time has been approximately 5 percentage points below that of female respondents, across all years in the time-series (68.5% and 74.7% respectively, in 2020). 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 to $60,000; $60,000 to $100,000; $100,000+; for the years from 2012 to 2020. 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 under 65-year-old 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 (83.7% and 70.1% respectively, in 2020). The difference has averaged approximately ten percentage points across the time-series, from 2012 to 2020, and is statistically significant at all time-points. Conversely, the figure shows relatively lower levels of stress for over 65-year-old respondents with a long-term health condition or disability, compared with respondents (of all ages) without (66.7% and 70.1%, respectively, in 2020). The difference between these two groups’ reported frequency of experiencing stress is not statistically significant for most of the time-points shown.
Source: Canterbury District Health Board.
Survey/data set: Canterbury Wellbeing Survey to 2020. 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.