Does Living in a Prosperous Country Make People Less Anxious?

Living in a prosperous country doesn't necessarily make people less anxious. According to a 2007 study by the World Health Organization, the United States had the highest percentage of anxious people, even though it is the world's most prosperous nation. The study showed that 31% of people in the US will be diagnosed with an anxiety disorder at some point in their lives, a number much higher than the 6.5% of people living in Nigeria or the 14.3% of those living in Mexico.

More about wealth and anxiety:

  • An anxiety disorder is a mental illness in which the sufferer experiences fear and dread that can become paralyzing. In some cases, an anxiety disorder can develop without provocation or any discernible threat.

  • Some professional financial advisers have observed that people who suddenly become wealthy often develop anxiety, triggered in part by changes in relationships and lifestyle, along with concerns about maintaining their wealth.

  • The term "status anxiety" is used to describe a condition in which someone is concerned about holding onto his or her socio-economic status, often to the detriment of his or her own happiness.

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Post 6

All the prior comments notwithstanding, the article made some valid points. I believe it's more pervasively cultural, as is suggested in the piece.

Post 5

There is no place in a civilized society for a health care industry. This is at the root of the expensive health care in the US.

Post 3

I agree. There should be a comparison made on the basis of factors other than just population. Self reported polls of symptoms, perhaps.

Post 2

America spends more per capita on medication and is also the sickest country. The doctors can't wait to diagnose you with something or other to get you hooked on their drugs and suck the cash out of you. The above figures cannot be an accurate measure of how anxious various people are. Doctors in Nigeria don't diagnose anxiety because they know the patient can't afford to pay for the drugs in such a frivolous case. Doctors are only seen in extreme circumstances.

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