Stressed Out Americans Turn to Media

November 3, 2020

Ipsos Exercise Media Use to Manage Stress Nov2020Under normal conditions, it’s probably fair to say that many Americans feel at least some degree of stress. But, these are far from normal times. With a pandemic affecting most aspects of daily life, a contentious presidential election and demonstrations for racial justice continuing, it’s no wonder that a report [pdf] from Ipsos reveals that some 1 in 3 Americans are under high-stress levels.

So, what are Americans doing to keep their stress at bay? Many have turned to media to help manage stressful situations. Indeed, close to 6 in 10 (57%) report that they have recently listened to music in order to do just that. And, almost half (48%) of those surveyed say they watch more videos online, streaming or TV to relieve stress. Other stress relievers used by about one-third of respondents include using social media (34%) and playing video games (33%).

Of course, not everyone uses media consumption as a form of stress reduction. Some 4 in 10 respondents say they exercise to help manage stressful situations.

That said, for those who are using media to relieve stress, most seem to turn to TV shows or movies. Two-fifths (41%) say they have recently watched funny or upbeat shows to relieve stress. Others say they watch their favorite new shows (35%), while a similar percentage watch shows or movies that aired long ago (32%).

Already considered the favorite genre for viewers, in general, Comedy is the clear favorite in times of anxiety, with half of the respondents turning to it to release stress. Following further behind Comedy are Action (31%), Drama (29%) and Crime (27%).

It does appear that reality or current affairs are not go-to stress relievers for many. Only 1 in 6 (17%) watch shows about or related to current issues so they can be more informed. And, in a similar vein, only 20% of respondents say that they seek out Documentary shows or movies to release stress.

The report can be found here.

About the Data: Findings are based on an Ipsos TV Dallies survey.

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