Wednesday, May 17, 2023

Most Americans Feeling Stressed About Inflation, Survey Shows

Inflation is causing a significant amount of stress for most Americans, especially women and people who are socioeconomically more vulnerable, a report in JAMA Network Open has found.

Cary Wu, Ph.D., of York University in Toronto and colleagues analyzed data from the Household Pulse Survey collected from September 2022 to February 2023 by the U.S. Census Bureau. They measured inflation stress using the survey question, “How stressful has the increase in prices in the last two months been for you?” The potential answers were “not at all stressful,” “a little stressful,” “moderately stressful,” and “very stressful.” Approximately 370,000 people participated in the survey.

Overall, 93.2% of the respondents reported that prices for goods and services had increased in the area where they live and shop in the last two months. Among these respondents, 47.3% reported that the price increases were very stressful, 28.2% reported that price increases were moderately stressful, 18.9% reported that price increases were a little stressful, and 5.6% reported that price increases were not at all stressful.

Women were 30% more likely to report feeling higher inflation stress than men. Compared with White respondents, Latinx and Black respondents were 65% and 25%, respectively, more likely to report higher inflation stress, whereas Asian respondents reported slightly lower inflation stress. However, when the researchers adjusted the results to account for socioeconomic status, higher socioeconomic status negated the differences between Black respondents and White respondents.

Individuals who were widowed, divorced, or separated were 54%, 57%, and 99%, respectively, more likely to report feeling higher inflation stress than married respondents. There was no statistical difference between married respondents and those who had never been married.

“In the time of high inflation, there is an urgent need for research and policy development to safeguard public health and prevent the worsening of health disparities,” Wu and colleagues wrote.

For related information, see “Inflation and a Recession Are Top Anxiety-Inducing Current Events Polled Since June.”

(Image: iStock/RapidEye)

Virtual Supervision of Residents Now Permitted Through December 31

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is allowing virtual supervision of residents at least through December 31. Virtual supervision was expected to end on May 11, when the Public Health Emergency ended.

The decision to extend this flexibility appears to be the result of advocacy by APA and other medical education groups. In an April 13 letter to CMS, APA joined with the American Association of Directors of Psychiatric Residency Training and the American Association of Chairs of Departments of Psychiatry urging CMS to codify virtual supervision of residents on a permanent basis before the expiration of the COVID-19 PHE in May.

“Telehealth care by residents has been demonstrated throughout the PHE to be a safe and effective strategy for maintaining, and in many cases increasing, access to care,” the three groups wrote. “The teaching physician is ultimately responsible for the clinical outcomes of the care provided by residents. … Continuing virtual supervision for patients and residents after the end of the PHE ensures patients maintain access to effective care.”



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