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Distressed? Not So Much in Hawaii

Study: Frequent Mental Distress Rarest in Hawaii, Most Common in Kentucky
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

April 14, 2009 -- It's rarer to have string of stressed-out days in Hawaii than in any other state, a new study shows.

The study, published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, is based on about 2.4 million U.S. adults who participated in CDC surveys from 1993 to 2001 and 2003 to 2006.

Participants were asked by phone how many of the previous 30 days their mental health -- including stress, depression, and emotional problems -- was "not good."

People who said their mental health was "not good" at least 14 out of the previous 30 days had "frequent mental distress," according to researchers, including the CDC's Matthew Zack, MD, MPH.

Here's the percentage of adults with frequent mental distress in each state for both time periods combined. States with the same percentage are listed together.

  1. Hawaii: 6.6%
  2. South Dakota: 6.7%
  3. Washington, D.C. 7.4%
  4. Kansas, Nebraska, and North Dakota: 7.5%
  5. Arizona: 7.6%
  6. Iowa and Montana: 7.7%
  7. Illinois: 7.9%
  8. Connecticut: 8%
  9. Wisconsin: 8.1%
  10. Minnesota: 8.2%
  11. North Carolina: 8.4%
  12. Alaska, Maryland, Vermont: 8.5%
  13. Ohio, Wyoming: 8.6%
  14. New Jersey: 8.7%
  15. New Hampshire, Oklahoma: 8.8%
  16. Maine, Virginia: 9%
  17. Washington: 9.2%
  18. Colorado, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, South Carolina: 9.3%
  19. Idaho, Tennessee: 9.4%
  20. Massachusetts, Georgia, Utah: 9.5%
  21. New York: 9.6%
  22. New Mexico, Rhode Island, Texas: 9.7%
  23. Delaware: 9.8%
  24. Missouri: 9.9%
  25. Oregon: 10%
  26. Arkansas, Florida, California: 10.1%
  27. Indiana: 10.3%
  28. Michigan: 10.5%
  29. Alabama, Mississippi: 10.8%
  30. Nevada: 10.9%
  31. West Virginia: 11.2%
  32. Kentucky: 14.4%

The study doesn't pinpoint the causes of mental distress and resources available to help people cope.

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