Differences in the experience of stress between the richest and poorest are increasing, just like differences in wealth.
Money stress has far reaching consequences. The APA report says about 1 in 5 people say that they have either avoided going to the doctor or have not gone because of money worries. Money also affects relationships: 31 percentof Americans report that money is a major source of conflict.
Conclusion? Money is wreaking grievous damage across America. When the average person spends hours a day worrying about money, (3.3 hours a day according to a USA Today report), that is time taken out of the nation’s good functioning. It’s a drag on productivity.
Second this report is official because it’s the APA, the voice of psychology in America. It cements the connection between money problems and health as a political problem because it involves another institution. Institutions – from banks to hospitals to the APA to marriage itself – institutions are are power concentrations. Balances of power are what politics is all about.
Enough stress will break a person’s spirit, of course, whether the stress be huge sudden, or milder but unending. So more depression, and more anesthetics like alcohol and drugs, and more addiction. Doesn’t sound like the stress is making us stronger, does it? A take-away is that money is breaking the American spirit.
This report is not a quirky finding. It’s not something you read and get a little angry on the inside. It’s that the whole system that allows this public damage is decayed.
Differences between how rich and the poor are suffering is always a big political problem.
If the collective damage – to health and wellbeing – visited on this counry by financial stress was something caused by a foreign country, it would be an act of war. That’s a political thing too. Does the direction the damage is coming from – outside or inside – make the damage less? No.
It’s our system. Our ideology. We’re looking at an inside job.
Big angry on the inside. Why doesn’t the American Psychological Association bite the bullet and write in its book of psychological symptoms (DSM5) about mental health and greed?
The APA report is here .