Stress and burnout have become an increasing and often-discussed phenomenon over the last decade. According to a survey of the American Psychological Association, money, and workplace and family responsibilities are the three major sources of stress among U.S. adults. Levels of stress in the U.S. vary from person to person depending on a variety of factors that can influence such feelings, including a person's employment status, age, income, and ethnicity. In 2015, it was found that Millennials had the highest stress levels of any age group.
Concerning stress among U.S. employees, the amount of work and interpersonal relations are the main reasons for occupational stress. More than one third of employees lose one hour or more per day in productivity, while almost one third miss between three and six days per year due to stress. A Statista survey from 2017 found that 23 percent of employees reported their company provided burnout prevention programs and 13 percent offered reintegration programs, demonstrating the increasing acknowledgement among companies of the importance of stress relief and dangers of burnout among employees.
However, burnout syndrome still lacks a proper and concise definition. Thus, exact figures and prevalence on a nationwide scale are rare and surveys on occupational stress/burnout depend heavily on methodology and the surveyed demographic. Common symptoms of burnout include, but are not limited to, feeling drained of physical and emotional energy, a feeling of achieving less than one should, or a feeling of not getting what one wants out of one's work. A recent Statista survey found that 14 percent of respondents aged 18 to 29 years knew a relative or close friend who was diagnosed with burnout.
Factors that lead to stress differ among different populations and individuals. One such factor, that affects certain populations more than others is that of discrimination. Although the U.S. is a developed and culturally mixed nation, it continues to struggle with issues of equality and discrimination. In the U.S., discrimination has been shown to be a cause of stress among 40 percent of blacks, but only 14 percent of whites. Furthermore, those who have experienced discrimination reported higher levels of stress across all ethnicities.
Lastly, there are occupational groups with especially high risks of stress and developing burnout. Originally, the term burnout was limited to helping professions like doctors and nurses, and these occupations still report above-average burnout rates. Investigations show that the prevalence of burnout symptoms among physicians is significantly higher than among the rest of the population. Physicians also more frequently suffer from emotional exhaustion.
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