Top causes of stress for Hong Kong people are money and self-induced pressure: survey

Lack of sleep among top stress factors for Chinese, international online survey shows; and it finds more in Hong Kong are stress-free than in most other places

PUBLISHED : Friday, 27 November, 2015, 6:15pm
UPDATED : Friday, 27 November, 2015, 6:16pm

Money and self-induced pressure are the two major causes of stress among people in Hong Kong, according to an international survey.

These are the same top sources of stress overall across the 22 countries and territories polled by Germany-based international market research company GfK.

Mainland China, however, had different results: there, the two major causes of stress were self-induced pressure and insufficient sleep, and parents were among the top five major causes of stress. Self-induced pressure was also the top cause of stress in Brazil and Germany.

More than a third of Hongkongers surveyed said they were relatively stress-free - higher than in most other places.

A total of 27,000 people aged 15 and older participated in the online survey, carried out in the summer. These included 1,003 people in Hong Kong and 1,501 in mainland China.

Respondents were given a list of 14 possible causes of stress, and were asked: “Please indicate which of these things are a major cause of stress in your life?” Multiple answers were allowed.

Among the other interesting findings from the survey: “threat of crime” was among the top five major causes of stress in Latin American countries; France was the only country where “children” were among the top five major stress factors.

Overall, 29 per cent of people surveyed cited the amount of money they have to live on, making this the leading major cause of stress internationally. This was followed by the pressure that people put upon themselves (27 per cent) and not getting enough sleep (23 per cent).

The good news: overall, 30 per cent of those surveyed were relatively stress-free, saying none of the factors listed count as a major cause of stress for them (although many rated them as minor causes of stress). Nearly half of Japanese respondents rated themselves relatively stress-free; Germans came next, with 44 per cent in this category, followed by the Netherlands and Hong Kong on 37 per cent.

At the other end of the scale, only 10 per cent in Turkey, 12 per cent in Argentina and 13 per cent in Mexico reported feeling relatively stress-free.

The major causes of stress were found to change with age. People aged 15 to 39 reported the same five major stress factors as those surveyed overall. Those aged 40 and above see their workload as less of a major stress factor, but instead worries about health are among their top five major causes of stress.

For those aged 50 and over, taking care of a family member who is ill, elderly, or has other needs or problems appears for the first time in their top five major causes of stress.

People over 60 no longer report the pressure they put on themselves as a top-five stress factor; this was overtaken by worries about threats from the outside world such as natural disasters or terrorism.

GfK says the data was weighted to reflect the demographic composition of the online population aged 15 and over in each market. The countries and territories surveyed were Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, Mexico, the Netherlands, Poland, Russia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, Britain and the United States.

Top five major causes of stress across the 22 countries and territories surveyed

1. The amount of money they have to live on (29 per cent)

2. Pressure they put on themselves (27 per cent)

3. Not getting enough sleep (23 per cent)

4. Not having time for the things they want to do (22 per cent)

5. The amount of work they have to get done in the day (19 per cent)

Hong Kong’s top five major causes of stress

1. The amount of money they have to live on (23 per cent)

2. Pressure they put on themselves (22 per cent)
3. Not having time for the things they want to do (21 per cent)

4. Not getting enough sleep (18 per cent)

5. The amount of work they have to get done in the day (18 per cent)

Mainland China’s top five major causes of stress

1. Pressure they put on themselves (23 per cent)

2. Not getting enough sleep (20 per cent)

3. Not having time for the things they want to do (19 per cent)

4. The amount of money they have to live on (19 per cent)

5. Their parents (15 per cent)