Majority of Americans Say They are Anxious about Health; Millennials are More Anxious than Baby Boomers

SAN DIEGO, May 22, 2017 – Nearly two-thirds of Americans are extremely or somewhat anxious about health and safety for themselves and their families and more than a third are more anxious overall than last year. By generation, millennials are the most anxious, baby boomers are the least. People of color also report higher levels of anxiety. This is according to a new national poll released today by the American Psychiatric Association.

Respondents were asked to rate their anxiety on five different areas: health, safety, finances, relationships, and politics.

Other findings from the poll:

  • Blacks and Hispanics reported higher levels of anxiety than whites. More than twice as many blacks and Hispanics (38 and 31 percent respectively) reported being extremely anxious about their health compared to whites (15 percent).
  • People on Medicaid reported being more anxious than those with private health care.
  • The level of anxiety among men and women was about the same.
  • More than one-third of respondents said they are more anxious than last year; one in five are less anxious; and two in five are about the same. Millennials are more likely than baby boomers to have more anxiety this year than last (41 percent and 32 percent respectively).
  • More than half of respondents also reported being somewhat or extremely anxious about paying their bills and about the impact of politics on their daily life.

Democrats, Republicans, and Independents reported similar levels of anxiety overall. However, more Democrats (44 percent) than Republicans (29 percent) report their stress has increased in the past year.

Americans are split on whether they are anxious about the impact of politics on their lives (51 percent are anxious, 49 percent are not). However, relatively few, 16 percent, say they are extremely anxious and that number is fairly consistent among all age groups, income levels, and among Caucasians, blacks and Hispanics. Democrats reported heightened levels of anxiety about the impact of politics on daily life—62 percent of Democrats are extremely/somewhat anxious about the impact compared to 44 percent of Republicans.

“Stress and anxiety can take a major toll on a person’s health and mental health. This poll gives us some insight to the level of concern among U.S. adults and what people are concerned about,” said APA President Maria A. Oquendo, M.D., Ph.D. “Our poll findings show that health and safety are primary concerns for most Americans and even more so for people of color and for millennials. Having access to quality affordable health and mental health care is important for all Americans.”

These findings are from an American Psychiatric Association-sponsored poll conducted online using ORC International’s CARAVAN® Omnibus Survey. The surveys were collected form a nationally representative sample of 1,019 adults during the period April 20-23, 2017. The margin of error is +/-3.1 percentage points.

American Psychiatric Association

The American Psychiatric Association is the oldest medical association in the country founded in 1844. 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.

Media Contacts

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Erin Connors, 202-609-7113
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