Time-stressed parents: children get sick from it

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AOK family study: parents increasingly stressed by time

Parents increasingly feel stressed by time and have problems with the organization of everyday family life, according to one of the results of the AOK family study 2014. The family study was carried out for the third time. Based on the previous studies from 2007 and 2010, the SINUS Institute commissioned AOK to survey around 1,500 families about their everyday family life, parental health and children's health.

According to the AOK announcement, "the results of the study are impressive, yet very obvious." First and foremost, "children would need a functioning everyday life to grow up healthy." In addition, their health is influenced by the well-being and state of health of the parents. However, with regard to parents, the study found that they are increasingly stressed with time and have problems coping with everyday family life. A quarter of those surveyed said that the organization of everyday family life "is demanding or even overwhelmed," reports the AOK. Furthermore, "almost half of the parents complained of severe or very severe time stress". According to the health insurance company, "Time stress is obviously the central stress dimension for parents" and "it would therefore be worthwhile to think about how time off in everyday family life can be organized."

Parents today are less stressed in many areas than in 2010 Compared to the 2010 family study, the current survey shows that "parents today feel less stressed overall in most areas (ie financially, physically, mentally and in partnership)", reports the AOK . In contrast, the time pressure in everyday parental life has increased since 2010. Today 46 percent of parents feel heavily or very heavily burdened, whereas in 2010 their share was 41 percent. "Unsurprisingly" it is "that single parents feel much more time and financial stress than parents in couple families." Accordingly, single parents would complain more often about strong psychological stress. Other causes of the time stress could be "the educational efforts of many (middle class) parents", because more and more parents would "try to give their children a better competitive position through extra-curricular activities (tutoring, sports, art, music etc.)" the AOK announcement. In addition, according to the health insurance company, both parents often go to work today, which further increases time stress. It tends to affect parents with a high level of education more from the time stress than parents with a low or medium level of education. The general shortage of time was particularly extreme among parents with primary school age children.

One fifth of children with health problems With regard to children's health, the current family study finds that every fifth child has health problems. According to the AOK, the spectrum of the children's complaints mentioned ranged from falling asleep and nervousness to physical complaints such as headaches, abdominal pain or back pain. A correlation can also be observed here between the time stress of the parents and the health of the children. Furthermore, the study had shown that "children with health problems and a low quality of life are also more psychologically and socially stressed." The study authors paid particular attention to the weight problems of adolescents, as these can have an extremely long-term negative impact on the health of those affected . The AOK reports that “20 percent of the target children are overweight and another 5 percent are obese”. Children who regularly move with their parents would have fewer problems here and would also benefit in terms of health. On the basis of the comprehensive results of the AOK family study 2014, the experts prepared four essential "Recommendations for healthy everyday family life", which can be found on the AOK website. (fp)

Image: Rolf van Melis / pixelio.de

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