1/5 of Americans Identify Technology as a Significant Source of Stress

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A Stressful, Yet Loving Relationship

Technology has improved life for many Americans, and nearly half of this country’s adults say they can’t imagine life without their smartphones.1 At the same time, numerous studies have described consequences of technology use, including negative impacts on physical and mental health.

For the past decade, the American Psychological Association’s Stress in America™ survey has examined how stress affects American adults’ health and well-being. This year’s survey took a deeper look at technology and social media to better understand their link to stress, relationships and overall health and well-being.

The survey showed, nearly all adults (99 percent) own at least one electronic device (including a television). Almost nine in 10 (86 percent) own a computer, 74 percent own an internet-connected smartphone and 55 percent own a tablet.

Research also shows that the percentage of American adults using social media increased from 7 percent to 65 percent between 2005 and 2015. Among young adults ages 18 to 29, the number is even higher — nine in 10 (90 percent) reported using social media in 2015, compared to 12 percent in 2005.4 Adoption rates among all groups of new and emerging technologies and social media have climbed to enormous proportions, with Facebook and Instagram boasting more than 2 billion combined monthly users.

Technology and Stress Snapshot

More than a decade after the emergence of smartphones, Facebook and Twitter, a profile is emerging of the “constant checker.” Such avid technology and social media use has paved the way for the “constant checker” — those who constantly check their emails, texts or social media accounts (43 percent of Americans). This attachment to devices and the constant use of technology is associated with higher stress levels for these Americans. Generally, nearly one-fifth of Americans (18 percent) identify the use of technology as a very or somewhat significant source of stress. The most stressful aspect? Americans say technology causes the most stress when it doesn’t work (20 percent).

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