The Well-Being Journal

Stress in the US: The Well-Being of American Women

Jennifer Rudloff

Recently Healthways and the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index® were featured on ABC World News with Diane Sawyer. The story titled 'Most Stressed Out' in U.S.? Middle-Aged Women Have Lowest Well-Being, Study Finds focused on the well-being of America’s baby boomer women. These women are balancing the demands of a career, supporting their children, taking care of their aging parents, and finding time for their husbands. These super women really are doing it all but it's taxing on their own well-being.

In conjunction with this broadcast, Nikki Duggan, Director of Well-Being Strategy at Healthways was interviewed and provided an analysis of the data on the theme of “Caregivers: The Well-Being of American Women Ages 45-64.”

Talk about the latest study from the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index®:

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What were the major findings from this study?

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Is there anything else you'd like to share about this study?

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What can these women do to improve their well-being?

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What's the biggest thing you'd like to note about the Well-Being Index?

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Some Surprising Facts about Caregivers:

  • More than 1 in 6 American workers also act as caregivers
  • Caregiving costs the U.S. economy $25.2 Billion in lost productivity
  • The majority of caregivers say caregiving has at least some impact on their performance at work
  • Annually, 126,222,624 workdays are lost among full-time workers because of caregiving
  • 72% of caregivers say they provide care for a parent
  • 67% say the person is 75 years of age or older
  • The majority (55%) of caregivers said they'd been providing care for 3 or more years.
  • 31% reported care between 1 and 3 years
  • On average, caregivers spend 13 days per month shopping, preparing food, housekeeping, doing laundry, providing transportation, and giving medication.
  • On average, they spend 6 days per month helping the family member/friend they're caring for to eat, dress, groom, walk, bathe, and visit the toilet

These and other facts can be found in a series of articles at gallup.com

Topics: Healthy Living ABC World News Well-Being In the News Well-Being Index Stress Baby Boomers Wellness Healthways Caretakers

Well-Being and the Workplace: Is Yours Stressing or Supporting Your People?

Jennifer Rudloff

Does employee well-being affect the workplace? Most people intuitively answer yes, and we’re seeing more and more evidence to support this belief through the Gallup Healthways Well-Being Index® data and other research. One recent analysis showed that employees with the lowest well-being scores cost businesses about $28,800 per person per year in lost productivity due to sick days, while those with the highest scores cost only $840. But what about examining the relationship from the opposite side? Does the workplace affect well-being? It’s an equally important question, and as it turns out, the answer is also yes—in many ways.

Commuting Stress
Let’s start with getting to and from the workplace. An analysis of WBI data found that the longer the commute, the lower the overall average well-being score. About one in five U.S. workers spend more than 30 minutes getting to work. Those who do are more likely to be obese, have high cholesterol, and experience neck or back pain. When compared to individuals who work 10 minutes or less from home, those with a one-way commute longer than 90 minutes are more than 42% more likely to report feeling worry for much of the previous day. They’re also 9% less likely to report feeling enjoyment, and 14% less likely to report feeling well rested. They also exhibit more anger, experience more stress, and eat more poorly.

Work Stress
Nearly three-quarters of Americans reported work as a significant source of stress in a 2007 report by the American Psychological Association. Another report indicated workplace stress can be linked to heart disease, apart from other health factors such as weight, smoking, or family history. People with higher self-reported levels of stress have measurably higher cortisol levels—a hormone that, if elevated over time, can lead to negative health symptoms and disease. One study in the Archives of Internal Medicine found a 30% difference in rates of heart disease between those with positive perceptions of their work environment and those with unfavorable perceptions. The study measured aspects of the work environment influenced by management, including getting criticism, praise, and information from a boss.

Reducing Stress & Boosting Well-Being
Organizations seeking to reduce workplace stress—and positively impact well-being—might consider:

  • Offering flexibility in work hours or work-at-home options to reduce commuting stress.
  • Providing management development programs that encourage positive on-the-job feedback and strengthen supervisor skills in areas like interpersonal communication

The Healthways Well-Being Assessment™, a comprehensive tool for measuring well-being within organizations, considers other influences on work environment, including:

  • An individual’s level of satisfaction with the work
  • The ability to use professional strengths on the job

Is your organization taking steps to boost well-being through a better work environment? Please share your thoughts and strategies.

Topics: Commute Well-Being Workplace Well-Being Business Performance Well-Being Index Competitive Advantage Stress Stress Management Boost Well-Being work stress