Mass shootings, health care and the 2020 presidential election are significant causes of stress for American adults, a new survey finds.
The poll of more than 3,600 U.S. adults found that 71% of them said mass shootings are a major source of stress, an increase from 62% in 2018. Hispanics were most likely to say mass shootings are a significant source of stress (84%), followed by blacks (79%), Asians (77%), Native Americans (71%) and whites (66%).
Health care is a significant cause of stress for 69% of the respondents. Among the 47% who experience stress about health care at least sometimes, the cost of health care is the most common source of that stress (64%).
Adults with private insurance (71%) were more likely than those with public insurance (53%) to say the cost of health care causes them stress. Overall, 55% worry that they won’t be able to pay for health care services they may need in the future, according to this year’s Stress in America survey from the American Psychological Association (APA).
The online survey, conducted by The Harris Poll, also found that 56% of respondents have significant stress about the 2020 presidential election, an increase from 52% in the period before the 2016 election.
Stress related to climate change rose to 56% this year from 51% last year. Stress associated with widespread sexual harassment rose to 45% this year from 39% last year.
Immigration was cited as a stressor by 48% of respondents in the new poll, which was conducted between Aug. 1 and Sept. 3, 2019. It was most likely to be a source of stress among Hispanics (66%), followed by Asians (52%), Native Americans (48%), blacks (46%) and whites (43%).
Discrimination is a source of stress for 25% of respondents in the new poll, compared with 24% in 2018, 21% in 2017, and 20% in 2016 and 2015.
The majority of people of color (63%) in the 2019 survey said discrimination has hindered them from having a full and productive life, and a similar proportion of LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) adults (64%) said the same thing. In 2015, 49% of people of color said discrimination prevented them from having a full and productive life.
The new poll also found that while only 38% of respondents feel the United States is on the path to being stronger than ever, 73% feel hopeful about their future.
“There is a lot of uncertainty in our world right now — from mass shootings to climate change. This year’s survey shows us that more Americans are saying these issues are causing them stress,” Arthur Evans Jr., APA’s chief executive officer, said in an APA news release.
“Research shows us that over time, prolonged feelings of anxiety and stress can affect our overall physical and mental health. Psychologists can help people develop the tools that they need to better manage their stress,” he said.
The U.S. National Institute of Mental Health has more on stress.