Germans are feeling increasingly stressed and are struggling to find a healthy balance in their lives, the study by health insurance company Techniker Krankenkasse (TK) said.
Fifty-three percent of those asked said their stress levels have increased over the past twelve months. Almost 60 percent said they felt at least partly stressed and one in five experience the emotion regularly.
“Germany is very stressed,” said TK chairman, Jens Baas. “The so-called sandwich generation is particularly stressed,“ he added.
Those between the ages of 36 and 45 have the highest stress levels of any age group, with 80 percent feeling under pressure.
Juggling work, looking after their children and caring for their parents made life especially tough for Germans in that age bracket, the study authors said.
Seven in ten parents said they were stressed, “but the same parents said they are happy,” Baas pointed out.
A gender divide also arose, with 63 percent of women reporting stress compared with 52 percent of men. City-dwellers tended to feel the strain more often than those living in the countryside.
Baden-Württemberg, home to Germany's spa capital Baden-Baden, had especially high stress levels, whereas those in northern German were generally more relaxed, the survey revealed.
In August this year television channel Das Erste aired a show called “Stressed Germany” investigating the country's problem.
The programme revealed that the number of sick days taken as a result of mental illnesses had risen by 80 percent in the last 15 years. Other problems brought on by stress include insomnia, headaches and bad tempers.
“Compared to relaxed people, stressed people have a four-time higher risk of mental complaints,” Forsa’s chief executive Manfred Güllner said.
But Baas argued that “a bit of stress is really good,” as 17 percent of those surveyed said they performed best when under a bit pressure.
According to the TK study, work is the main factor causing stress, being cited by 47 percent of those surveyed. High expectations of oneself are the second most mentioned reason with 41 percent, followed by private conflicts at 34 percent.
Problems included an excessive workload, time pressure and distractions. Conflicts with colleagues and bosses and being contactable at any time were less problematic for those surveyed. According to Güllner, class conflict no longer played a role in companies.
The study was conducted in Berlin, where 1,000 people were surveyed by the polling company, Forsa Institute.