Study Names Alabama Most Stressed State in the Union

Americans are reportedly more stressed than ever before. In fact, a new survey conducted by the American Psychological Association shows the first statistically significant increase in levels of stress since the review was first launched 10 years ago. And according to a 2017 WalletHub study, some states are more stressed out than others.

Analysts looked at 33 different indicators of stress — including work hours, job security, credit score, divorce rate, overall public health, and more — in the nation’s 50 states and the District of Columbia. The results show that Alabama holds the number one spot as the most-stressed state in the union.

According to the findings, Alabama has the second-lowest credit scores and the fourth-highest percentage of adults in poor or fair health. In addition, Alabama has the sixth-highest population of those who live below the poverty line.

Despite these widespread issues, the southern state also has the second-fewest psychologists per capita, and residents were shown to get the fourth-fewest hours of sleep, on average. The study considers “adequate” sleep to be seven hours or more. Back in 1942, most people enjoyed an average of eight hours of sleep every night. These days, most people get an average of 6.8 hours of shut-eye. But the study found that Alabama residents, as well as those who live in Hawaii, Kentucky, Maryland, Georgia, and Michigan, aren’t getting nearly enough sleep.

Although Alabama doesn’t land in the top five states with the highest rates of divorce, it does hold the number five spot for the “family-related stress” ranking.

Still, some Alabama communities are doing their part to help families keep the respect and love alive, even when parents divorce. The townships of Maplesville and Clanton recently declared the week of April 23 to 29 as “Parental Alienation Prevention Week,” drawing attention to an issue many parents and children face during custody battles.

Parental alienation refers to abusive behaviors and attitudes parents or other guardians may exhibit, behaviors meant to interfere or damage the relationship a child maintains with one or both of their parents. These actions can result in emotional trauma for both kids and adults, so these towns have partnered with the Alabama Family Rights Association to bring this issue to light. While 29% of custody decisions are made without any kind of third-party involvement, organizers want “to increase the knowledge and understanding of this problem to help Alabamians, institutions, the legal and mental health community, and leaders to identify and combat this abusive behavior to children,” according to the official proclamation.

These efforts may be welcomed on a local level, but since these custody issues and abusive behaviors weren’t one of the 33 factors in the WalletHub study, it’s not enough to knock Alabama out of the top spot. And since Mobile and Birmingham came in second and third, respectively, on WalletHub’s list of most-stressed cities last year, it looks like more will have to be done to provide Alabamians some much-needed relief.