Adults expect more stress than usual this holiday season, says survey

Many expect to have additional stress and anxiety this holiday season An overwhelming number of adults are expecting to experience stress this holiday season, while one in three expect additional worries due to bill consolidation and other financial issues caused by the current economic downturn.

According to a newly released Holiday Stress Index commissioned by Breakthrough at Caron and conducted by Harris Interactive, 38 percent of adults said they expected to feel additional stress and anxiety this holiday season because of the economy’s current condition.

Overall, 90 percent of adults surveyed said they expected some stress or anxiety this season.

Additionally, 41 percent of respondents reported anxiousness due to worries they would not be able to buy gifts for everyone they wanted to, while 21 percent said they felt there was too much emphasis placed on gift-giving during the holidays.

"One problem is that we have gotten away from the most important part of the holiday season — the connection with those we love," said Ann W. Smith, Breakthrough’s executive director. "People think that spending money and buying gifts is a substitute for intimacy. Ironically, our study indicates that, given a choice, most would prefer family intimacy and connection as opposed to material goods."

The survey also found that family interactions may be a cause of stress for many during the holidays. Seventy-seven percent of respondents said that conflicts occurred during their families’ holiday gatherings.