12:46 GMT26 November 2020
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    US adults in the midst of the COVID-19 novel coronavirus pandemic are the unhappiest Americans in nearly half a century, according to an ongoing longitudinal study seeking to make sense of Americans’ mental health before, during and after the COVID-19 crisis.

    The National Science Foundation, NORC at the University of Chicago released its first wave of 2020 COVID-19 outlook research this week and revealed that only 14% of Americans describe themselves as “very happy” - less than half of the 31% who said the same in 2018.

    However, this is just one aspect of the ongoing longitudinal study, which is being conducted online and via phone with both Spanish- and English-speaking American respondents. This first wave of data was obtained in late May and contains the responses of some 2,000 Americans.

    “Forty-two percent of Americans believe that their children’s standard of living when they are older will be better than their own standard of living,” the NORC release detailed, emphasizing that the current data presents “a sharp decline from 57% in 2018 and the lowest level of optimism for the next generation since first measured in 1994.”

    Furthermore, 30% of US adults told researchers that they have lost their temper more often after the COVID-19 outbreak, though only 20% said the same in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Also, nationwide anxiety has climbed from 13% to 18% within the past two years, according to the data.

    The bleak results of this study come amid a flurry of national morale research conducted amid the COVID-19 pandemic and nationwide protests regarding police brutality and the treatment of black people in the US.

    Poll data published on Monday from Gallup's national pride survey, which ran from May 28 through June 5, revealed that fewer US adults are “extremely proud,” or even “very proud,” to be Americans than they were in past years.

    In fact, the “extremely proud” category has experienced a downward trend since 2016 - particularly for nonwhite respondents. While 45% of the nonwhite individuals surveyed in 2016 declared extreme pride in being an American, that number has shrunk to just 24% in 2020.

    US Census Bureau data identified that black Americans, in particular, have experienced increased cases of anxiety and depression following the May 25 police killing of Minneapolis, Minnesota, resident George Floyd - an unarmed black man whose death has resulted in an unprecedented amount of exposure for the Black Lives Matter movement.

    According to the agency’s findings, the share of black Americans who reported significant signs of anxiety or depression grew from 36% to 41% within one week. During the same period, there was little change in the percentage of white Americans with signs of anxiety or depression.

    The Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey was originally established in late April to monitor the impact of the novel coronavirus, but the study has also provided a snapshot of many Americans’ current mental state. Between the survey intervals of May 21-May 26 and May 28-June 2, signs of anxiety and depression rose from 28% to 34% for Asian Americans but decreased from 42% to 38% among Hispanic and Latino Americans.

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    Tags:
    anxiety, clinical depression, depression, pandemic, pandemic, health, mental health, Chicago, poll, survey, adults, Donald Trump, coronavirus, COVID-19
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