Rising Despair

ajph.2019.305002f3

Cross-Sectional Weighted Prevalence of Despair by Race/Ethnicity and Education: United States, 2016–2017

Note. HS = high school. The figure shows results for wave V of the study. The average age was 37 years. Non-Hispanic White with high school or less education was the reference category. We conducted a χ2 test of independence to compare proportions in each group to the reference category. *P < .05; **P < .01; ***P < .001.

The Depths of Despair Among US Adults Entering Midlife

Conclusions. Results suggest that generally rising despair among the young adult cohort now reaching midlife that cuts across racial/ethnic, educational, and geographic groups may presage rising midlife mortality for these subgroups in the next decade.

Our study had potential limitations. We measured despair using several indicators of mental and emotional health and substance use. These indicators do not completely capture all domains of despair; for example, we were unable to account for economic anxiety, reports of physical pain, or hopelessness. We did not examine mortality.

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