Societal and personal concerns, their associations with stress, and the implications for progress and the future
A survey of more than 2000 people in four countries examined levels of concern across 19 personal and 23 societal issues. On average, 49% were moderately or seriously concerned about the personal issues, with health, wellbeing and financial concerns topping the ranking. Country differences were small, but generational differences were substantial. An average of 58% of Generation Y were moderately or seriously concerned, compared to 35% of Pre-boomers, with significant differences for 14 of the 19 issues. In terms of societal issues, an average of 41% were moderately or seriously concerned, with social and moral issues ranking ahead of economic and environmental matters. Americans were the most concerned with societal issues and Australians the least. Societal concerns increased with age. Both sets of concerns, but especially personal, were predictors of perceived personal stress, although specific concerns were both positively and negatively associated with stress. The ranking of societal concerns, country differences, age differences, and the relationship between concerns and stress are discussed. Findings provide insights into the relationships between social conditions, personal circumstances and wellbeing, supporting an argument that researchers need to pay more attention to the "psychosocial dynamics" of contemporary life in assessing human progress as a pathway to the future.
Randle, M., Eckersley, R. & Miller, L. (2017). Societal and personal concerns, their associations with stress, and the implications for progress and the future. Futures, 93 68-79.