U.S. at its highest stress level yet, poll shows

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Nearly two-thirds of Americans say the future of the nation has them freaked out—and is keeping them awake at night

stressed out stressAre you losing sleep over the state of the United States? You’re not alone.

Nearly two-thirds of Americans (63%) say the future of the nation is a very or somewhat significant source of stress, slightly more than perennial stressors such as money (62%) and work (61%), according to the American Psychological Association’s report, “Stress in America: The State of Our Nation,” released Nov. 1, 2017.

More than half of Americans (59%) said they consider this the lowest point in U.S. history they can remember—a figure spanning every generation, including those who lived through World War II, the Vietnam conflict, the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Asked about the nation in 2017, nearly six in 10 adults (59%) report the current social divisiveness causes them stress. A majority of adults from both political parties say the future of the nation is a source of stress, though the number is significantly higher for Democrats (73%) than for Republicans (56%) and independents (59%).

What specific issues are causing anxiety? The 3,440 respondents to poll conducted in August 2017 noted health care (43%), the economy (35%), trust in government (32%), crime and hate crimes (31%) and terrorist attacks in the United States (30%) were the highest areas of concern.

“With 24-hour news networks and conversations with friends, family and other connections on social media, it’s hard to avoid the constant stream of stress around issues of national concern,” says Arthur C. Evans Jr., chief executive officer of the organization. “These can range from mild, thought-provoking discussions to
outright, intense bickering, and over the long term, conflict like this may have an impact on health. Understanding that we still need to be informed about the news, it’s time to make it a priority to be thoughtful about how often and what type of media we consume.”

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