The findings underline our growing reliance on smartphones and echo a report conducted by LG last year / Getty Images

The death of a loved one topped the charts, with the prospect of imprisonment and home damage just behind

British adults feel more stressed about the prospect of losing their smartphone than they do about Brexit, according to a new study conducted by the Physiological Society.

The Stress in modern Britain survey asked people to rate how stressful they find – or imagine they would find – 18 different life events, with the Physiological Society using the results to assign an average score to each one from a scale of zero to ten, with zero meaning ‘Not at all stressful’ and ten ‘Very stressful’.

Smartphone loss came 14th on the list, with a score of 5.79, making it more stressful than Brexit (4.23), but slightly less stressful than terrorist threats (5.84).

“The results for some events point towards stress levels increasing with age, most strongly for long-term problems such as illness or imprisonment,” reads the study. 

“Exceptions to this trend were the loss of a smartphone, which fits with the added difficulties this would cause to highly-connected younger generations, and the arrival of a first child.”

The findings underline our growing reliance on smartphones and echo a report conducted by LG last year, which found that 90% of people “felt panic” when their mobile battery dropped to 20% or lower.

Brexit, one of the biggest topics in the UK over the past year, rather fittingly provoked the greatest variety of responses, according to the Physiological Society report.

“Respondents aged 18–24 scored Brexit stress a point higher on average than those 55+. Those living in London and Scotland also scored Brexit a point higher on average than those in Wales and much of the rest of England. 

“Most markedly, those respondents educated to higher degree level reported stress two points higher than people with only GCSEs or A-Levels, while undergraduate degree-holders were also more stressed, though more than a point lower than those with higher degrees. 

“These trends correlate with the constituencies of the electorate most likely to vote Remain in the referendum, suggesting they are finding the Brexit process stressful while leavers are happier to let things play out.”

The death of a loved one topped the table with a score of 9.43, with imprisonment (9.15) and flood/fire damage to the home (8.89) completing the top three.

The study, which was based on the 1967 work of psychiatrists Thomas Holmes and Richard Rahe, was carried out in partnership with YouGov, and involved over 2,000 British adults. 

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