A majority of Americans surveyed in a study of stress levels, released on Wednesday, said they consider the present day to be the lowest point in U.S. history, and indicated that the future of the nation is a major source of stress in their lives.
Out of 3,440 respondents surveyed in August by the American Psychological Association, fifty-nine percent said they can't remember a worse time in the nation's history. The people surveyed included Americans who had lived through World War II, the Vietnam War, the September 11 attacks, and the Cuban Missile Crisis.
Poll-takers asked respondents to describe the issues that have caused them to feel this way, and found that 59 percent were most anguished about "divisiveness" in U.S. society.
Forty-three percent named healthcare as their top source of stress, amid continued efforts by the Trump administration and the Republican Party to weaken the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The poll was taken just after Republicans' efforts to repeal the law failed, but President Donald Trump has continued to sabotage the ACA, which helped nearly 20 million Americans gain health coverage.
Another 32 percent said "trust in government" was their biggest concern and 31 percent said hate crimes or crime in general were their top source of stress regarding the nation.
Women who took the survey reported higher levels of stress than men, and black and Latino males had a higher average stress level than their white counterparts. Black respondents also expressed far less optimism about the path the country is on than white respondents; 72 percent disagreed that the country could have a strong future, while only 55 percent of whites disagreed with the sentiment.
More than half of respondents also said that their concerns over the political climate in the U.S. makes them feel conflicted about keeping up with the 24-hour news cycle.
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"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," said Dr. Arthur Evans, CEO of the APA.
On social media, some of Trump's critics said they related to the APA's findings.
You're not alone or imagining it: some shocking statistics from the American Psychological Association. https://t.co/2FdEQijcUC— Amy Siskind (@Amy_Siskind) November 1, 2017
Thanks, Trump.— Jay Kirell (@JasonKirell) November 1, 2017
59% of Americans say this is the lowest point in American historyhttps://t.co/h7CmZKe6ak