WASHINGTON, D.C. — More people around the world are reporting experiencing negative emotions, according to a new survey.
The number of people who report feeling “a lot” of sadness, anger, physical pain, stress and worry has been steadily increasing in recent years, according to Gallup’s Negative Experience Index. The results of the 2013 survey, which was conducted in 138 countries, continued the upward trend that began in 2007, researchers said.
Iraq, Iran and other countries in the Middle East and North Africa topped the list of places where residents reported they experienced negative emotions “yesterday.” Worldwide, 34 percent of respondents said they experienced worry, 33 percent experienced stress, 27 percent experienced physical pain, 20 percent experienced sadness and 19 percent experienced anger.
Long-term unemployment is one of the strongest predictors of negative emotions, researchers said. Other factors can include high levels of corruption and poverty.
The U.S. had a score of 33, compared to the highest negative experience score of 57 for Iraq and the lowest negative experience score of 13 for Kyrgyzstan.
In countries like Iran, regularly experiencing negative emotions may be contributing to the population’s pessimism about the future. The government recently launched a campaign to encourage couples to have more children as the country’s birth rate has declined, according to The New York Times.
Countries with highest negative experience index score:
Sierra Leone: 47
Northern Cyprus: 44
Countries with lowest negative experience index score:
South Africa: 18
New Zealand: 19