Stress-related arguments at an all-time high according to latest research

2nd November 2011

The pressures of modern day living are having an increased effect on personal relationships as new research reveals stress-related arguments to be at an all-time high.

Researchers found the average couple now falls out four times a week, with over-spending, having little or no help around the house and how to pay bills the most likely triggers for a bust-up.

On National Stress Awareness Day, latest research commissioned by leading health & wellbeing mutual organisation, Benenden Healthcare Society, reveals the most significant causes and effects of stress today.

Six in ten said stress ‘tips them over the edge’ and sparks loved ones to fight when they normally wouldn’t. Feeling worked up has affected parents’ relationships with their kids, caused a slump in productivity at work and even led to depression for thousands.  A quarter have ended up hitting the bottle to help them feel they can cope.

Karin Mochan, editor of benhealth magazine, the health and wellbeing magazine for members of Benenden Healthcare Society, said: ‘There's no doubt that many of us feel the effects of stress in our everyday lives, resulting in a major impact on our personal relationships and work lives.

‘Twelve million people go to their GP every year with mental health problems and they're often stress related. These rising stress levels are partly due to the fast pace of modern life and the demands that our jobs, families and financial responsibilities place on us.

‘When we feel unable to cope with these demands, stress can start to show itself in a number of ways. Symptoms can be both physical and psychological – and so knowing what to look for can be an important step towards finding a solution.’

The study of 2,000 Brits aged between 18 and 65 quizzed them on their stress levels; what gets them worked up, what it affects and how they deal with it.

It found a third rated their stress levels as ‘quite high’, while seven per cent said ‘very high’. The majority said it was ‘normal’, while a lucky one in six said it was ‘low or very low’.

The average couple endured two stress-related arguments 12 months ago, but talk of a double-dip recession and the expense of Christmas means tension is building up in millions of British households. A quarter said they have ‘gone days’ without talking to their partner and more than half said it’s a ‘vicious cycle’.

The survey found anxiety isn’t just causing fights amongst loved ones, but is affecting many areas of people’s lives. One in five have avoided getting passionate with their partner because they have too much on their mind.

Brits are also plagued by heavy workloads, financial pressures and lack of sleep. Two thirds of adults said they experience the most stress at work while a third said they felt most pressure at home. Four in ten were in agreement that Monday is the most stressful day of the week and they feel anxious at least four times a day and for 35 minutes in total.

Heavy workloads (24 per cent), the nature of their job (18 per cent) and tight deadlines 14 per cent) stress workers out the most. Many end up turning to alcohol to forget about their worries, a quarter watch TV and the same number end up having a rant at someone.

One in five have had to take time off work die to their stress levels, not making it to behind their desk on at least six occasions in the last 12 months. Half have felt like they have been unable to cope with the amount of stress they were under – with 22 per cent currently suffering.

Yet despite the extent of pressure millions of Brits feel under, 78 per cent have never sought professional advice. 22 per cent tend to talk to no-one about what’s playing on their minds, while husbands are on the receiving end the majority of the time. One in ten offload their worries to work colleagues.

Karin Mochan added: ‘We all experience stress in different ways and it can start to have a very real impact on our day-to-day lives.

‘Instead of turning to the bottle or withdrawing from your friends and family, it really is a good idea to talk about what's troubling you. Whether you confide in your partner, a friend or work colleague or the family doctor, the old saying of a problem shared is a problem halved still holds true.

‘We need to lose the stigma attached to mental health issues such as stress. It is a lot more common than many of us think and doesn't need to be hidden behind closed doors.’ 

What makes Brits most stressed out?


1. Work

2. Finances

3. Not getting enough sleep

4. Your figure

5. Commuting

6. Your diet

7. Your kids

8. Lack of sex

9. Your Partner

10. Lack of help around the house

Main work stresses


1. Heavy workload

2. The nature of the job

3. Tight deadlines

4. Your boss

5. Your colleagues

6. Work/life balance

7. No appreciation

8. Lack of support

9. Working late

10. Finding out other colleagues are on a higher wage than you



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