Still deep in debt, but consumers are feeling a bit less stressed

If you think Americans are more uptight than ever about the state of their finances, think again. A new poll shows consumers are less stressed about credit cards, mortgages, home equity loans, car and student loans and other sources of debt.

The Consumer Debt Stress Index, calculated by Ohio State's Center for Human Resource Research, fell 10 percent last month, after hitting record highs during the summer. "Reports on the economy have become more encouraging, with the retail and housing sectors showing renewed signs of life," said Lucia Dunn, professor of economics at Ohio State University and one of the leaders of the study.