Officials of cities cited by Psychology Today magazine as the most stressful in the country reacted angrily to the ranking, while the mayor of the nation's least-stressed burg, State College, Pa., was pleased.
"That's ridiculous," responded Paul Harvel, president of the Chamber of Commerce in Little Rock, which was ranked fifth most stressful.
Pete Witschenhe, assistant city manager in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., said: "I've lived in other areas of the country. My impression is there isn't any more stress here than any other urban area." The Ft. Lauderdale area was ranked 12th most stressful, joining several other Florida cities on the list.
Ranked 286 Areas
The article, written by Robert Levine, a psychologist at Fresno State, ranked 286 metropolitan areas based on rates of crime, suicide, alcoholism and divorce. It provided instant celebrity status to State College.
"I think people got a charge out of this," said State College Mayor Arnold Addison. He attributed the low-stress rating of the small city, known by its residents as Happy Valley, to the fact that it's the home of Penn State University.
Reno, Nev., was portrayed as the stress capital of the nation. Sgt. Karl Schmidt of the Reno Police Department contended that the "divorce capital of the world" was being unfairly penalized for a high burglary rate resulting from tourists leaving valuables in cars or hotel rooms.
Levine said the 10 lowest-stress places were: State College; Grand Forks, N.D.; St. Cloud, Minn.; Rochester, Minn.; McAllen-Pharr-Edinburg, Tex.; Altoona, Pa.; Bloomington, Ind.; Provo-Orem, Utah; Utica, N.Y.; and Akron, Ohio.
The 10 most stressful were: Reno; Las Vegas, Nev.; Miami; Lakeland-Winter Haven, Fla.; North Little Rock-Little Rock; Panama City, Fla.; Odessa, Texas; Jacksonville, Fla.; San Francisco-Oakland; and Los Angeles-Long Beach.