People in US experiencing unprecedented stress levels: Poll
Financial worries amid the highest inflation in the US in the past 40 years, coupled with tragic scenes from the conflict between Ukraine and Russia, have pushed a majority of Americans to unprecedented levels of stress, according to a new poll.
The annual poll by the American Psychological Association, published Thursday, found that US adults — already weary from two years of the Covid-19 pandemic — are now overwhelmingly troubled by inflation and the war in Ukraine.
According to the results, 87 percent of those surveyed cited rising costs of everyday items, such as groceries and gas, as a "significant source of stress."
The same high percentage said their mental health was greatly affected by what has felt like a "constant stream of crises without a break over the last two years." And 84 percent said the Russian invasion of Ukraine is "terrifying to watch."
The shared feeling of stress among so many Americans was "startling," said Lynn Bufka, a clinical psychologist and the APA's associate chief for practice transformation. While many people can feel stress, she said, they often cite different political or social reasons as the source.
"We don't usually see 80 percent of people telling us that a particular stressor is stressful for that many individuals," Bufka said.
Parents and caregivers, in particular, have been hit hard by stress in the past year, the poll found. Parents are not only worried for themselves; they are overly concerned for the future of their children.
More than 70 percent of parents said they were fearful that the pandemic has impacted kids' social, academic and emotional development. And 68 percent said they were concerned about children's cognitive and physical development.