Americans are increasingly stressing out over major news events

By Greg Hamilton • Published: October 19th, 2017
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

We live in turbulent times, with each day’s news bringing more reasons to feel worried and angry about things largely out of our control. Much of that stress is brought on by feelings of betrayal by major institutions, including the government and large corporations, according to new research that found 95 percent of those surveyed reported feeling moderate-to-severe stress because of at least one major event in the news.

Scientists at the San Diego-based Trauma Research Institute said they set out to explore whether Americans are experiencing high levels of stress brought on by the swirl of events surrounding them. They said many physicians had predicted no correlations would be found, indicating to them that this phenomenon is not being taken seriously in the medical community.

The researchers surveyed 287 people between ages 25 and 44, asking them to choose their top three distressing events, ranging from being stuck in traffic to losing a home in a fire. They found events featuring large organizations such as the federal government or a political party influenced the participants to a much greater extent, especially when they identified with that organization.

Virtually all of the respondents said they were highly stressed because of at least one major event, and four out of five said they felt stress even after the event left the headlines. The events are extraordinarily impactful, the researchers said, adding they are causing an increase in trauma that the medical community needs to address.

One other thing to note: The survey was conducted before the 2016 presidential election and does not include any of the events that have taken place since then.