Nov 10

“Stress in America” APA Report: Yup, It’s So Real

“How stressed out have you been this past year?” Gist of APA survey leading to recent “Stress in America” report

The American Psychological Association (APA) recently issued “Stress in America: The State of Our Nation,” their report based on a major survey that’s been conducted annually since 2007.

About 63% currently “say the future of the nation is a very or somewhat significant source of stress.”

This type of statistic prompted the APA’s press release title to contain these words: “US at ‘Lowest Point We Can Remember;’ Future of Nation Most Commonly Reported Source of Stress.” Stress levels, in fact, have actually increased for the first time in 10 years (US News & World Report).

Mostly Democrats and/or Never Trumpers, you speculate? Not so fast. Political affiliation and ideology turn out not to have been main influences.

On the other hand, females consistently report significantly higher levels of stress than men. Also higher on subjective responses, as compared to white men, are black and Hispanic males.

Here’s a breakdown of the top issues causing stress in America:

  • health care (43 percent)
  • the economy (35 percent)
  • trust in government (32 percent)
  • hate crimes (31 percent) and crime (31 percent)
  • wars/conflicts with other countries (30 percent)
  • terrorist attacks in the United States (30 percent)
  • unemployment and low wages (22 percent)
  • climate change and environmental issues (21 percent)

Considering that many of us rely on the media for information about such issues, there’s been considerable ambivalence about how to do so—how to follow the news, for example, without worsening one’s already high stress level. “While most adults (95 percent) say they follow the news regularly, 56 percent say that doing so causes them stress, and 72 percent believe the media blows things out of proportion.”

A (slight) majority of folks have been moved toward doing something constructive in response to all this stress. “…51 percent of Americans say that the state of the nation has inspired them to volunteer or support causes they value. More than half (59 percent) have taken some form of action in the past year, including 28 percent who signed a petition and 15 percent who boycotted a company or product in response to its social or political views or actions.”

As in the past, the APA is eager to offer their guidance for dealing with the reported stress. Below are “10 simple steps [that] can help you better face life’s uncertainties.” Click on the link for further details.

  • Be kind to yourself.
  • Reflect on past successes.
  • Develop new skills.
  • Limit exposure to news.
  • Avoid dwelling on things you can’t control.
  • Take your own advice.
  • Engage in self-care.
  • Seek support from those you trust.
  • Control what you can.
  • Ask for help.