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Breaking Up and STDs Among Top Female Anxieties

( - April 8, 2004) Stress has become a major problem for women ages 18 to 29, reports Cosmo in its May issue, on newsstands April 13, 2004. An exclusive phone survey on stress and women, conducted by Sovereign Market Research in conjunction with the Society for Women's Health, reveals that 66 percent of women surveyed feel a "considerable or moderate" amount of stress on a daily basis and 54 percent feel their stress level has increased in the last year.

"It is evident that stress is an epidemic among young women, whether self-imposed or due to outside factors," said Kate White, editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan. "In our survey, an alarming amount of women (72 percent) acknowledged feeling stressed without any obvious cause. But what really surprised us was that 41 percent women admitted to 'inventing' or 'finding' things to be stressed about."

On a day-to-day basis, a whopping 63 percent of women surveyed cite money as one of their biggest sources of stress. The number who find their career, school, or relationship with a significant other stressful is considerably lower at 39 percent, 27 percent, and 27 percent, respectively. This financial anxiety may affect their career choices - when asked their top work concern, 48% responded "making enough money," compared to the just 23% who said being happy in their jobs and finding their passions was a top priority.

The poll also suggests that women may feel pressure to achieve too much too soon. Fifty-one percent of those polled feel that by age 30 they should have a well-established career, home, and steady relationship.

Stress relating to sex and dating provided some interesting findings. Seventy-three percent of women believe it is more stressful to wait for a guy she's dating to call than to call him herself. Fifty-three percent of women are more worried about their own sexual arousal than that of their partner, and 54 percent feel more distressed about not having an orgasm than about their partner not having one.

In an accompanying article entitled "Take Control of Stress this Second," in the May issue of Cosmopolitan, Charles R. Figley, PhD, director of the Psychosocial Stress Research Program at Florida State University in Tallahassee, remarks that "the group that's affected by (stress) the most is those in their 20s, because they don't yet have the life experience to deal with it."

Cosmo's poll results support Figley's assertion. Forty-five percent of women surveyed feel that stress gets the best of them and they have no coping mechanisms. Fifty-eight percent admitted to reacting to stress by ignoring it, becoming irritable and acting out against those around them or breaking down and crying. Only 32 percent said they take control of a stressful situation.

Cosmopolitan asked women how much anxiety the following situations would cause them. Here's how they ranked:

1. A death in the family
2. Catching an STD
3. Being unemployed
4. Not having health insurance
5. Getting laid off or fired
6. Getting pregnant
7. Breaking up with a boyfriend
8. Planning a wedding
9. Not being able to have children
10. Getting sick or injured
11. Having too much work
12. Starting a new job
13. Wondering if I'll ever figure out my true calling
14. Making a career change
15. Being single and having nothing to do on a Friday night
16. Getting older


-- Sixty-three percent name money as the biggest source of stress.

-- Seventy-two percent feel stressed without any related cause.

-- Forty-one percent admit to inventing or finding reasons to be stressed.

-- Fifty-nine percent of women feel a 20 pound weight gain is more stressful than being fired.

-- Eighty-five percent feel that being thought of as stupid is more stressful than being considered ugly.

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