INTRODUCTION: Stress may affect health negatively. Therefore, it is important to identify risks factors for high levels of stress. Previous studies indicate that parents report higher levels of stress than adults without children. Whether this it due to having children or due to other circumstances is unknown. The purpose of this study is to investigate whether parents have higher levels of stress than adults without children after controlling for possible confounders. A possible interaction between being a parent and working time on perceived stress will be examined. METHODS: Cross-sectional data from Danish Health and Morbidity Survey 2000 were used. 3,083 men and 2,813 women aged 25-49 years answered one question on perceived stress. All analyses were stratified on sex and marital status and adjusted for age, socio-economic level, income and work hours/week. RESULTS: No differences in perceived stress between men and women with and without children were found. Women, who were lone parents and worked more than 37 hours a week, had a markedly increased level of stress (OR: 3.2, 95%CI: (1.3-7.8)) compared to single women without children working 37 hours a week. CONCLUSION: Children in the household did not appear to be the cause of a high level of perceived stress. Single mothers with long working hours were an exception to this conclusion.
Keywords: Adult; Child; Cross-Sectional Studies; Family Characteristics; Female; Humans; Male; Middle Aged; Mothers; Nuclear Family; Parents; Questionnaires; Risk Factors; Single Parent; Socioeconomic Factors; Stress, Psychological; Workload