Anxiety? Depression? or just paying attention?

A third of Americans now show signs of clinical anxiety or depression, Census Bureau finds amid coronavirus pandemic

https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2020/05/26/americans-with-depression-anxiety-pandemic/?arc404=true

 

The U.S. Census Bureau has been tracking ​adult ​American’s responses to the pandemic including some questions relating to mental health.​ https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/covid19/pulse/mental-health.htm (with neat drop-down filters). ​

The results purport to measure some indicators of mental health​ wellness​. I think the results are more an indicator of who’s paying attention The charts are based on respondent answers to these questions:

Over the last 7 days, how often have you been bothered by … having little interest or pleasure in doing things? Would you say not at all, several days, more than half the days, or nearly every day?

Over the last 7 days, how often have you been bothered by … feeling down, depressed, or hopeless? Would you say not at all, several days, more than half the days, or nearly every day?

Over the last 7 days, how often have you been bothered by the following problems … Feeling nervous, anxious, or on edge? Would you say not at all, several days, more than half the days, or nearly every day?

Over the last 7 days, how often have you been bothered by the following problems … Not being able to stop or control worrying? Would you say not at all, several days, more than half the days, or nearly every day?

“Feeling down”? “Feeling nervous”? I’d say that anyone who doesn’t acknowledge feeling down and feeling nervous hasn’t grasped the seriousness of the situation. I’m guessing that the two-thirds of Americans who are not showing signs of clinical anxiety or depression aren’t wearing face masks.

The breakdowns of the responses aren’t what I would have guessed. I thought people with more years of formal education would report more feelings of anxiety or depression. Wrong – it’s respondents with less formal education. And I thought younger respondents would report feeling more anxious/depressed than older people. Just the opposite.

 

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