The current political climate in the United States is causing substantial anxiety, and the percentage of people reporting at least one stress-related health symptom rose almost 10 percent in five months, according to the American Psychological Association.
Until a year ago, people used to report that anxiety came from personal life issues, such as money and work. In October, it released its results, and, ta-da, 52 percent of respondents indicated that they were stressed about the vote, Republicans and Democrats alike. 76 percent of self-identified Democrats were apprehensive about America's direction while 59 percent of self-identified Republicans felt similarly.
"The stress we're seeing around political issues is deeply concerning, because it's hard for Americans to get away from it", Katherine C Nordal, APA's executive director for professional practice, said. "We're surrounded by conversations, news and social media that constantly remind us of the issues that are stressing us the most".
The study, conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of the APA found that 57 percent of those polled say the climate is a "very or somewhat significant source of stress" and 49 percent say the same thing about the outcome of the Presidential election last November. The survey also found increases in the percentage of Americans who were stressed by police violence and personal safety.
Vaile Wright, a licensed psychologist and member of APA's Stress in America team, speaking with the Washington Post, admitted the severity of the findings caught her off guard.
Young Americans continue to report higher stress levels than older generations, and Americans with lower incomes report more stress than those with higher incomes. That compares to 38 percent for those with a high school education or less. Among white respondents, 42% reported stress from the election results. Of Americans with some level of education beyond high school, 53 percent say that the election results cause them significant stress. This situation is concerning because chronic anxiety is known as a leading factor influencing the rates of depression, heart disease, cancer, and even degenerative brain disorders, such as Alzheimer's disease and dementia. Now that people are citing politics as a serious stressor in their lives, APA researchers included in their survey questions relating to the country's officials. "And keep in mind to take care of yourself and pay attention to other areas of your life", Nordal said.