More Than Two-Thirds of American Adults Are Stressed About the Nation's Future: Survey

It's an incredibly stressful time to be an American, according to new survey of more than 3,400 adults conducted by the APA

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It’s an incredibly challenging time to be American, according to a new survey of more than 3,400 adults conducted by the American Psychological Association.

The study, published Tuesday, found that 69 percent of adult Americans feel stressed about the future of the United States. This is a substantial increase from 2017, when only 63 percent of those surveyed said the same thing, the APA notes.

In addition, 62 percent of those polled said that the current political climate causes them “significant” stress, and 61 percent disagreed with the notion that the country is “on a path to becoming stronger than ever.”

Some 34 percent of adults said “discrimination” stresses them out, the highest rate since 2015. The breakdown of the question by race included 46 percent of black adults, 36 percent of Latino adults and 14 percent of white adults.

That said, the most common sources of stress are still money and work, with 64 percent of adults saying these factors affect their mental health. The upside? Almost half of Americans, 45 percent, said they feel motivated to support political and social causes they’re passionate about as a result of the stress.

The survey also focused heavily on young people between the ages of 15 and 21, known as Generation Z, born after Millennials. Gen Zers old enough to vote in the upcoming midterms are the least likely age group to do so — with only 54 percent planning to hit the polls compared to 70 percent of adults overall.

Notably, Gen Z is more negatively affected by the news than adults overall, according to the study. For example, three-quarters of them said they’re significantly stressed by the frequency of mass shootings in this country. Some 57 percent worry about the separation and deportation of immigrant families, versus 47 percent of all adults. Addressing concerns about sexual harassment, the rate is 53 percent compared to 39 percent.

About one-third of Gen Z also says that housing instability and debt significantly stress them out. They’re also more likely than other young generations, including Millennials and Gen X, to say their mental health is only “fair or poor.” About 27 percent of Gen Zers reported this, versus 15 percent of Millennials and 13 percent of Gen X. Millennials and Gen Z are more likely to receive therapy or other treatment than any other generation.

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“Current events are clearly stressful for everyone in the country, but young people are really feeling the impact of issues in the news, particularly those issues that may feel beyond their control,” said Arthur C. Evans Jr., PhD, APA’s CEO, in a statement.

The survey was conducted online within the U.S. by The Harris Poll between July 27 and Aug. 28, 2018, among 3,458 adults (18 or older) and 300 teens between 15 and 17. Interviews were in English and Spanish.

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