Anxiety over paying bills saw the biggest increase from last year, according to a new APA poll
Deep breaths, America.
Nearly four in 10 U.S. adults (39%) are more anxious now than they were around the same time last year, according to a new poll by the American Psychiatric Association. Another 39% of people reported their anxiety level had stayed about the same, while just one in five (19%) said it had decreased.
Overall, the national anxiety score for 2018 is five points higher than it was for 2017, per the APA, clocking in at 51 on a scale of 0 to 100. While millennials showed greater anxiety than Gen Xers or Baby Boomers, Boomers saw the biggest anxiety jump from 2017 to 2018 with seven points. Respondents were most anxious about keeping themselves and their families safe (68%), their health (68%) and paying bills and expenses (67%) — but anxiety over paying bills saw the biggest increase from last year.
Women experienced more anxiety than men did, the poll found, and saw a larger anxiety hike from 2017 to 2018. People of color, meanwhile, found themselves 11 points higher on the anxiety index than Caucasians.
“This poll shows U.S. adults are increasingly anxious particularly about health, safety and finances. That increased stress and anxiety can significantly impact many aspects of people’s lives, including their mental health, and it can affect families,” APA president Anita Everett said in a statement. “It highlights the need to help reduce the effects of stress with regular exercise, relaxation, healthy eating and time with friends and family.”
The poll also provided a snapshot of Americans’ views on mental health, giving some cause for hope. Half of respondents, for instance, said they thought there was less stigma against people with mental illness now versus a decade ago. Nearly half (46%) agreed that people with mental illness were far more likely to be victims rather than perpetrators of violence. Meanwhile, 35% said they wouldn’t vote for a candidate diagnosed with mental illness, even if that person had received treatment.
The APA study, with its 3.1% margin of error, included responses from 1,004 people in late March. The organization compared those responses with a similar poll conducted in April of last year.
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