Study: It’s not just you, 2017 was rough for humanity
VIOLENCE, BITTER partisanship, an uncertain future. These are dark times. In fact, humanity just had its gloomiest year in more than a decade, according to a new survey of the emotional lives of more than 154,000 people worldwide.
More people reported negative experiences — defined as worry, stress, physical pain, anger or sadness — than at any point since 2005, when Gallup, the analytics and consulting company, introduced the survey.
“This is the first time that we’ve seen a really significant uptick in negative emotions,” said Julie Ray, the chief writer and editor of the report and survey, known as the Gallup World Poll.
The 2017 results, released Wednesday, are based on interviews with adults in more than 145 countries. The increase in negative experiences was driven largely by rising worry and stress, reports of each of which rose by two percentage points from 2016 to 2017.
“When you’re talking about 154,000 interviews for the entire world, that’s actually a lot,” Ms Ray said. “Those two points, that change, is a lot.”
Reports of physical pain and sadness each rose by 1 percentage point, also contributing to the global rise in negative experiences, while reports of anger were unchanged. In all, well over a third of respondents told Gallup in 2017 that they had experienced a lot of worry or stress the day before taking the survey. Just under a third reported experiencing a lot of physical pain, while about a fifth said they had felt a lot of sadness or anger.
Negative experiences have risen fast across the greater sub-saharan region, with its index at its highest levels in a decade in 24 of 35 countries surveyed there. While no single trend can explain that shift, conflict and instability have created a growing health care crisis across the region, according to Gallup.
Such problems with health or with the ability to afford food are associated with higher negative scores, the organisation found. While negative experiences reached a new high in 2017, positive ones fell only slightly, to levels last seen in 2011 and 2012. At least 70 per cent of those surveyed reported feeling a lot of joy, feeling well rested, feeling treated with respect, and smiling or laughing a lot the day before being interviewed.