Political climate, nation's future is stressing out Americans, study says

About two-thirds of respondents said the future of the nation is a significant source of stress and 49 percent said the outcome of the election was a significant source of stress.

Democrats were particularly stressed by the outcome of the election, with 72 percent saying Trump's win over Hillary Clinton was a significant source of stress.

Uncertainty about the future can raise stress levels, psychologists say. A majority (52 percent) of Americans claimed the election as a major source of stress in their lives.

According to the American Psychological Association, which just released its annual "Stress in America" survey, citizens are reporting the most significant increase in stress in the report's 10-year history.

"Were surrounded by conversations, news and social media that constantly remind us of the issues that are stressing us the most", said Nordal. Women are more likely to report acts of terrorism as a significant source of stress (56 percent vs. 46 percent). This is the fastest increase on record since the APA's first Stress in America survey in 2007.

The survey form past year was conducted online back in August 2016. Of Americans with some level of education beyond high school, 53 percent say that the election results cause them significant stress.

The APA officials also note that the stress levels recorded in January are the highest in the past ten years. While the August 2016 poll marked the first time that politics-related questions were included in the Stress In America survey, the new poll in January showed that politics was now a major source of stress for Americans. Among respondents residing in cities, 62% reported such stress, compared with 33% of respondents from rural areas. Researchers found that approximately 71 percent of US citizens reported symptoms of emotional stress at least one day that month.

"It's important to know that when you are feeling stress, and especially over a long period of time, or chronically day in and day out, that that can have physical consequences", like headache or stomachache, Diaz-Granados said. "If the 24-hour news cycle is causing you stress, limit your media consumption", said Katherine Nordal, APA's executive director for professional practice.

The APA recommends those experiencing stress related to the election and the political climate should perhaps take a break from the news and do something else.

Between August 2016 and January 2017, Americans' overall average reported stress level rose from 4.8 to 5.1 on a 10-point scale, the survey found. "And do not forget to take care of yourself and pay attention to other areas of your life", Nordal said. Approximately 3,511 adults who live in the United States were surveyed by Harris Poll who was sent by APA.

  • Aubrey Nash