Who is most susceptible to stress?
Stress comes in all forms and affects people of all ages and all walks of life. No external standards can be applied to predict stress levels in individuals -- one need not have a traditionally stressful job to experience workplace stress, just as a parent of one child may experience more stress related to parenting than a parent of several children. The degree of stress in our lives is highly dependent upon individual factors such as our physical health, the quality of our interpersonal relationships, the number of commitments and responsibilities we carry, the degree of others' dependence upon and expectations of us, the amount of support we receive from others, and the number of changes or traumatic events that have recently occurred in our lives.
However, certain factors can enhance our susceptibility to stress or act to reduce its severity. People with strong social support networks (consisting of family, friends, religious organizations, or other social groups) report less stress and overall improved mental health in comparison to those without these social contacts. People who are poorly nourished, who get inadequate sleep, or who are physically unwell also have reduced capabilities to handle the pressures and stresses of everyday life and may report higher stress levels. Some stressors are particularly associated with certain age groups or life stages. Children, teens, college students, working parents, and seniors are examples of the groups who often face common stressors related to life transitions.
People who are providing care for elderly or infirm loved ones may also experience a great deal of stress as caregivers. Having a loved one or family member who is under a great deal of stress often increases our own stress levels as well.