US citizens' stress from social media at 10-year high

25 February 2017

According to an American Psychological Association study released last week, US citizens are experiencing the first statistically significant stress increase in the survey's 10-year history.

In January, 57 per cent of respondents across all political shades of opinion said that the US political climate was a very or somewhat significant source of stress.

The figures were up from 52 per cent who said the same thing in August.

The APA released the second part of its findings, Stress In America: Coping With Change, which examined the role technology and social media played in American stress levels.

The use of social media had shot up from 7 per cent of US adults in 2005 to 65 per cent in 2015.

For people in the 18-29 age range, the increase was larger, from 12 per cent to a remarkable 90 per cent.

Though the surge of social media usage is not surprising, the number of people who just found it almost impossible to get away from social media was very high.

Nowadays, 43 per cent of US citizens said they were checking their e-mails, texts, or social media accounts constantly, which was adding to the stress they experienced. On a 10-point scale, constant checkers reported an average stress level of 5.3, while for the rest of Americans, the average level was a 4.4.

Meanwhile, Muslim Americans, immigrants and victims of sexual trauma were especially prone to greater stress since the election The Washington Post reported. It said quoting Vaile Wright, a licensed psychologist and member of APA's Stress in America team, mental health specialists who worked in Veterans Affairs hospitals reported that their patients had made comments such as ''This isn't what I risked my life for.''

In August, 71 per cent of US citizens had felt a physical or emotional symptom of stress at least one day that month, while in January 80 per cent had symptoms, such as tension headaches or feeling overwhelmed or depressed.

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