We've updated our Privacy Policy to make it clearer how we use your personal data.

We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. You can read our Cookie Policy here.

Rate of US Adults in Extreme Distress Jumps Since 1993

Rate of US Adults in Extreme Distress Jumps Since 1993

Rate of US Adults in Extreme Distress Jumps Since 1993

Rate of US Adults in Extreme Distress Jumps Since 1993

Read time:

Want a FREE PDF version of This News Story?

Complete the form below and we will email you a PDF version of "Rate of US Adults in Extreme Distress Jumps Since 1993"

First Name*
Last Name*
Email Address*
Company Type*
Job Function*
Would you like to receive further email communication from Technology Networks?

Technology Networks Ltd. needs the contact information you provide to us to contact you about our products and services. You may unsubscribe from these communications at any time. For information on how to unsubscribe, as well as our privacy practices and commitment to protecting your privacy, check out our Privacy Policy

New research by Andrew Oswald (University of Warwick and CAGE) and David Blanchflower (Dartmouth College) finds that the proportion of the US population in extreme distress rose from 3.6% in 1993 to 6.4% in 2019.

The paper, which is forthcoming in the American Journal of Public Health, investigates changes in the percentage of US citizens suffering extreme distress from 1993 to 2019. Using data on 8.1 million randomly sampled US citizens, the authors create a new proxy measure for exceptional distress (the percentage who reported major mental and emotional problems in all 30 of the last 30 days). They examine time trends for different groups and predictors of distress.

Regression analysis reveals that at the personal level, the strongest statistical predictor of extreme distress was ‘I am unable to work’. At the state level, a decline in the share of manufacturing jobs is a predictor of greater distress.

Blanchflower and Oswald conclude that increasing numbers of US citizens are reporting extreme levels of mental distress and that this is linked to poor labour-market prospects. Inequality of distress has also widened. Policymakers need to recognise the public health implications of this growing crisis.


Blanchflower DG, Oswald AJ. Trends in Extreme Distress in the United States, 1993–2019. Am J Public Health. 2020;110(10):1538-1544. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2020.305811

This article has been republished from the following materials. Note: material may have been edited for length and content. For further information, please contact the cited source.