On a scale of 1 to 10 (where 1 is "little or no stress" and 10 is "a great deal of stress"), adults report their stress level is 4.9, compared with 5.2 in 2011, 5.4 in 2010 and 2009, 5.9 in 2008 and 6.2 in 2007. Comparatively, Americans believe 3.6 is a healthy level of stress.

Almost three-quarters (72 percent) of respondents say that their stress level has increased or stayed the same over the past five years, and 80 percent say their stress level has increased or stayed the same in the past year. Only 20 percent said their stress level has decreased in the past year.

The number of Americans reporting extreme stress continues to be high — 20 percent said their stress is an 8, 9 or 10 on a 10-point scale, which is comparable to the numbers reporting extreme stress in 2011 (22 percent), 2010 (24 percent) and 2009 (23 percent).

Over the past five years, 60 percent of adults have tried to reduce their stress. More than half (53 percent) are still trying to meet this goal.

Only 37 percent of Americans feel they are actually doing an excellent or very good job of managing their stress.

Most frequent cited stressors include:

  • Money (69 percent).

  • Work (65 percent).

  • The economy (61 percent).

  • Family responsibilities (57 percent).

  • Relationships (56 percent).

  • Family health problems (52 percent).

  • Personal health concerns (51 percent).

American's stress levels since 2007