Living In Stressful Times 

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Living In Stressful Times 

In August 2017, the American Psychological Association (or APA), conducted its latest Stress in AmericaTM survey designed to investigate Americans’ relationship with stress.  The annual survey seeks to determine how stressed they feel, what keeps them up at night and how they deal with the stress in their lives.

APA has conducted the Stress in AmericaTM survey for more than a decade.  Throughout this period, “money and work” have consistently topped the list of stressors identified.  However, after adding a question with a list of additional stressors in 2017, a new source of stress topped the list: the future of our nation.

The 2016 presidential election season proved to be a significant source of stress for 52 percent of Americans.  In the August 2017 survey 62 percent reported that money was a primary source of stress and 61 percent reported that work remained a major stressor.  But surprisingly, 63 percent of Americans reported significant stress about “the future of our nation.”

That is, a significant majority of adults from both political parties say they feel stress about the future of our nation, though the number in 2017 was significantly higher for Democrats (at 73 percent) than for Republicans (at 56 percent) and Independents (at 59 percent).  Furthermore, 59 percent of adults, report that the current social divisiveness causes them stress when thinking about the nation.

Many Americans said they were stressed about at least one issue facing our nation, and an amazing 59 percent of adults said they consider this “the lowest point in our nation’s history that they can remember.”  Importantly, this is a feeling that cuts across generations, including individuals who have lived through World War II, Vietnam, the Cuban Missile Crisis, high-profile mass shootings, and “the September 11 terrorist attacks.”

When asked what specific issues in our country cause them stress, Americans’ most common responses were “health care” at 43 percent and “the economy” at 35 percent.  Additional issues causing stress include “trust in government” at 32 percent, “crime and hate crimes” at 31 percent, and “terrorist attacks in the United States” at 30 percent.  Twenty-eight percent of adults cited “high taxes” as a source of stress, while 22 percent of Americans cited “unemployment and low wages” and 21 percent cited “climate change and environmental issues” as causes of stress when thinking about the nation...

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