Sadness and stress are growing in the world, and the pandemic may have exacerbated the situation

Sadness and stress are growing in the world, and the pandemic may have exacerbated the situation

SAO PAULO, SP (Volhabres) – A global survey shows that people are more stressed, sad and anxious.

Compared to the end of the last decade (2009), global suffering has increased from 25% to 31% in 2021 worldwide.

In 2020 alone, the first year of the pandemic, the increase was 2.5 percentage points.

The data was published in an article on Monday (27) in the scientific journal PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences), which is associated with the US National Academy of Sciences.

The study, conducted by Michael Daly, of the University of Maynooth (Ireland), and Lucia Macchia, of City University of London (UK), sought to identify global trends in feelings of distress and stress, which may be linked to a decline in mental health.

According to the researchers, regional data on increased feelings of sadness and stress in the US and UK have been known since the 1990s, but little was known about the global trend.

Then the scientists used data from a platform called Gallup (Global Databases for Public Use, in English) with information from more than 1.53 million adults from 113 countries, including Brazil, from 2009 to 2021. Sociodemographic data, such as age, gender, monthly income education, and questions about feelings of stress and sadness – “Did you experience the following feelings for much of the day before?” – Yes and no answers.

Each response was coded (zero for no and one for yes) and, based on the data, scaled as percentages to analyze the increase in distress.

The authors state that the distress analysis took subjective feelings into account and therefore cannot be used to assess the prevalence of anxiety and depression in the population. However, it is possible that this picture may have worsened after the pandemic, especially among young people.

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According to the study, feelings of sadness and stress increased globally across all groups and age groups, but were higher in people up to elementary school (9.53% increase) and those with the lowest household income (7.27% increase). ).

Women (6.75%) and young adults aged 35 or younger (6.87%) also had the largest increase in feelings of stress and sadness over the past decade.

When looking at the three independent emotions, which are stress (9.97%), sadness (6.31%), and anxiety (6.22%), they recorded a significant increase from 2009 to 2021, while hate did not record a statistically significant increase in the same period.

Looking at the increase from 2020 to 2021, the pandemic has exacerbated feelings of sadness and stress in all groups, except for adults aged 55 and over and for those individuals with lower education and monthly income. While this is a significant increase, the researchers say this short-term increase still needs to be monitored to confirm whether it will be larger than that seen in the pre-pandemic years.

For Michael Daly, associate professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Maynooth, the increased feelings of sadness and stress in young people age 35 and younger illustrate a series of factors they are exposed to on a daily basis, starting with the pressures of being in a post. -calamity.

Some possible explanations in the period analyzed include the period following the 2008 global economic crisis, when many people experienced economic uncertainty related to job security and incurred debt, but had a particular impact on adults and less powerful groups.

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In this sense, the Covid pandemic has also had a greater impact on the mental health of young people, as evidenced also by studies conducted in Brazil.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there was a 25% increase in the global prevalence of anxiety and depression in the first year of the pandemic, and data from the most recent Vigitel (Surveillance of Risk and Protective Factors for Chronic Diseases by Telephone Survey) survey of 2021 indicates that 13.5% of the Brazilian population has been diagnosed with depression. It is young men and women who suffer the most from burnout and constant anxiety at work, according to a study conducted by the UFRJ.

“Social disruption was greater in young adults, who tend to develop larger and more differentiated social relationships rather than maintaining the same group with which they interact frequently. Even experiences can interfere with feelings of depression and anxiety (as well as sadness and anxiety) and cause anxiety about an increase in these symptoms,” says Dr. Which leads to an increase in diagnoses,” says the researcher.

“There is also the possibility that increased awareness and acceptance of mental and emotional problems could explain the increase in anxiety [do sofrimento] In youth, though, that wouldn’t explain the rise in the less-educated groups either,” says Daly.

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