Americans stress levels on the rise, survey shows

The stress we're seeing around political issues is deeply concerning because it's hard for Americans to get away from it experts say
Politics Stressing You Out? You Aren't Alone.
Author

18 February, 2017

A poll released by the American Psychological Association found that 57 percent of respondents said the political climate is a "very" or "somewhat" significant source of stress. The APA's Stress in America survey has been collecting data about stress levels in this country for about a decade.

The majority of Americans (57 per cent) said they thought the current political climate in the United States was a significant source of stress.

Two-thirds of those polled - 66 percent - said they were stressed over the future of the nation and almost half - 49 percent - said the outcome of the election was either a very significant or significant source of stress. This represents the first significant increase in the 10 years since the Stress in America survey began. In October 2016, an APA survey found that 52 percent of respondents derived stress from the looming November election, Bloomberg reports.

Young Americans continue to report higher stress levels than older generations, and Americans with lower incomes report more stress than those with higher incomes. Two-thirds, or 66 percent, said they were stressed about the future of the nation, according to the APA.

The matter is even worse as immigrants, Muslim Americans, and victims of sexual assault are even more susceptible to greater stress since the election. From August 2016 to January 2017, stress over acts of terrorism increased from 51% to 59%, stress over police violence toward minorities increased from 36% to 44% and stress over personal safety increased from 29% to 34%. Minority groups, millennials, those living in urban areas, and those with a college education had higher levels of stress about the election, which is unsurprising since those demographics tend to lean left politically.

These additional stressors may be affecting Americans' health. 76% of them said that they fear for their future.

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Ms Nordal said the transition of power and the speed of change can cause uncertainty and feelings of stress.

"W$3 hile it's really important to stay informed right now, there's a point where you have to know your limits; there's a saturation point where there isn't new information", she said in a Washington Post report.

The APA recommends those experiencing stress related to the election and the political climate should perhaps take a break from the news and do something else. In August, 71 per cent of Americans reported feeling a physical or emotional symptom of stress at least one day that month.

Between the 2016 survey and January's follow up, the average reported stress level rose from 4.8 to 5.1, on a scale where 1 means little to no stress and 10 means maximum stress.

"The results of the January 2017 poll show a statistically significant increase in stress for the first time since the survey was first conducted in 2007", the report reads.


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