Kiran Stacey Gulf coast residents unhappier since spill

This may seem like something of a “dog bites man” headline, but actually a new poll by Gallup has come up with some very interesting findings. In short, Gallup suggests the emotional wellbeing and stress levels of people living on the Gulf coast appear significantly lower since the BP oil spill, at a time when residents of the same states who do not live on the coast have shown no significant change in their wellbeing.

The overall headline figures read like this:

But that 1.8 per cent fall masks some more worrying figures.

Asked if they experienced stress, worry and sadness for “a lot of the day yesterday”, 15.5 per cent more peope said yes to stress after the spill, 13.4 per cent more said yes to worry and 13.6 per cent said yes to sadness. At the same time, overall levels of all three emotions decreased across non-Gulf states.

The most concrete finding is the most intriguing however. Asked if they had ever been clinically diagnosed with depression, 25 per cent more Gulf coast residents said yes after the spill. Gallup are keen to point out that the question posed asked if the resident had ever been diagnosed with depression, so it doesn’t necessarily mean that the increase in cases happened after the spill.

NB, here were the sample sizes: