Americans Anxious Over Current Events, Losing Weight This Summer, Says New APA Poll
Washington D.C., June 15, 2022 — As Americans take to the beaches, leave school and turn on their air conditioners this summer, current events, such as inflation, are on their minds, and nearly half of Americans feel pressure to lose weight or otherwise change their body.
This is according to the American Psychiatric Association’s Healthy Minds Monthly Poll*, which was conducted by Morning Consult between May 27 and 29, 2022, among a sample of 2,210 adults.
Americans say they are anxious about current events, with 79% indicating they are very or somewhat anxious about inflation, 68% about gun violence, and 63% about the Russia-Ukraine War. They also said they were anxious about climate change (52%), COVID-19 (49%), the future of reproductive rights (48%), the midterm elections (47%), and the future of LGBTQ+ rights (31%), although responses varied by demographic group.
“It’s not surprising that Americans find the news anxiety-inducing, given everything we are facing as a country at the moment,” said APA President Rebecca Brendel, M.D., J.D. “It’s obviously important to stay informed, but from time to time you need to take a break, particularly if you find yourself overwhelmed. Watching repeated scenes of violence in a 24/7 news cycle doesn’t help and can even make symptoms worse.”
On the positive side, about three-quarters of American adults say their mental health is excellent or good (72%), compared to 26% who rate their mental health as fair or poor, down two percentage points from last month. They said that many aspects of the summer would have a positive impact on their mental health, such as spending time outdoors (71%), taking a vacation (67%), longer amounts of daylight (66%), and attending social gatherings (60%).
A quarter of Americans said hot weather (28%) and wearing clothes that show more of their body (24%) have a negative impact on their mental health. Adults are split (45% to 53%) on whether they feel pressure to lose weight or otherwise change their body during the summer.
“It’s good to see some Americans taking positive emotions from summer traditions, during a time when we really need them,” said APA CEO and Medical Director Saul Levin, M.D., M.P.A. “But it stands out that half want to change their bodies. For some, that may come from being exposed to images of unattainable ideals on traditional and social media. It’s important to monitor your feelings and actions around these issues and if necessary, seek help.”
Many differences in age, gender, race and ethnicity, and sexual orientation emerged in the full results of the poll, and APA examined the LGBTQ+ and Hispanic communities in particular. Those findings are available from [email protected]
*APA’s Healthy Minds Monthly tracks timely mental health issues throughout the year. APA also releases its annual Healthy Minds Poll each May in conjunction with Mental Health Awareness Month.
American Psychiatric Association
The American Psychiatric Association, founded in 1844, is the oldest medical association in the country. The APA is also the largest psychiatric association in the world with more than 37,000 physician members specializing in the diagnosis, treatment, prevention, and research of mental illnesses. APA’s vision is to ensure access to quality psychiatric diagnosis and treatment. For more information, please visit www.psychiatry.org.