Daily Hassles

Although the results on major life events are fascinating, researchers on stress have gone on to new questions. One new line of research starts with the observation that major life events are, thankfully, fairly infrequent in our lives. It seems that the major sources of stress in most people' s lives are what are termed daily hassles (Delongis, Folkman, & Lazarus, 1988; Lazarus, 1991). While only minor, daily hassles can be chronic and repetitive. Examples of daily hassles are: having too much to do all the time, having to fight the crowds while shopping, getting stuck regularly in heavy traf fic, having to wait in lines all the time, having an unpleasant boss at work, and hav ing to worry over money. Such daily hassles can be chronically irritating, though they do not initiate the same general adaptation syndrome evoked by some major life events. The results of research on daily hassles have shown that, similar to major life events, persons with a lot of minor stress in their lives suf fer more than expected from psychological and physical symptoms. The top 10 most common daily hassles are listed in Table 18.2.

Table 18.2 The 10 Most Commonly Experienced Daily Hassles

Hassles

Percentage*

Concerns about weight

52%

Health of a family member

48

Rising prices of common goods

43

Home maintenance

43

Too many things to do

39

Misplacing or losing things

38

Yard work or outside home maintenance

38

Property, investment, or taxes

37

Crime

37

Physical appearance

36

*Over a nine-month period, these percentages represent the average percentages of people indicating that the hassle was a significant source of stress.

Source: Adapted from Kanner et al., 1981, p. 14.

*Over a nine-month period, these percentages represent the average percentages of people indicating that the hassle was a significant source of stress.

Source: Adapted from Kanner et al., 1981, p. 14.

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