Brexiety disorder – Anxiety levels across the UK have spiked massively since the referendum

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45% of Britons say they’re experiencing increased levels of anxiety in the aftermath of the EU referendum, according to a new study* co-ordinated by anxiety and panic attack specialists Dr. Stephen Cox and Dr. Michael Sinclair, on behalf of bcalm.

General uncertainty about the UK’s future (33% said this was their main source of anxiety) and the economic impact of Brexit (18%) are the main drivers of anxiety.

The nationally representative study of 2,000 UK adults, conducted in the week after the referendum, found the other top causes of anxiety to be:

  • Rising hostility to foreign-born residents and immigrants (12%)

  • Uncertainty around whether Article 50 will be triggered (8%)

  • Rise in the cost of living (6%)

  • Fears that Scotland will vote to leave the UK (4% nationally, 15% in Scotland)

  • Fear of being blamed for voting a certain way – (5% of Leave voters cited this as their top cause of anxiety, compared to 0.2% of Remain voters)

The study also found:

  • Women are generally feeling more anxious than men in the wake of the Brexit vote.

  • 18-24 year-olds are feeling the most acute increase in anxiety. 62% said they’re experiencing an increase in anxiety.

  • Anxiety levels drop for older respondents, 39% of over-55s report an increase in anxiety.

  • Edinburgh is the most anxious city post-Brexit, followed by Brighton, Leicester, Liverpool then Manchester.

  • Residents of Norwich has the highest proportion of residents reporting improved anxiety levels post-Brexit.

 

Aside from general uncertainty and the economic impact of post-Brexit Britain, these are the biggest sources of anxiety across the UK

 

City

Biggest cause of post-Brexit anxiety**

Aberdeen

Scotland leaving the UK

Belfast

Northern Ireland leaving the UK

Birmingham

Rising hostility towards foreign-born people/ethnic minorities

Brighton & Hove

Rising hostility towards foreign-born people/ethnic minorities

Bristol

Rising hostility towards foreign-born people/ethnic minorities

Cambridge

Rising hostility towards foreign-born people/ethnic minorities

Cardiff

Rising hostility towards foreign-born people/ethnic minorities

Edinburgh

Scotland leaving the UK

Glasgow

Scotland leaving the UK

Leeds

Rising hostility towards foreign-born people/ethnic minorities

Leicester

Rising hostility towards foreign-born people/ethnic minorities

Liverpool

Uncertainty around whether Article 50 will be triggered

London

Rising hostility towards foreign-born people/ethnic minorities

Manchester

Rising hostility towards foreign-born people/ethnic minorities

Newcastle

Rising hostility towards foreign-born people/ethnic minorities

Norwich

Rising hostility towards foreign-born people/ethnic minorities

Oxford

Potential rise in cost of living

Plymouth

Potential rise in cost of living

Portsmouth

Rising hostility towards foreign-born people/ethnic minorities

Sheffield

Uncertainty around whether Article 50 will be triggered

Southampton

Uncertainty around whether Article 50 will be triggered

Swansea

Uncertainty around whether Article 50 will be triggered

Wolverhampton

Rising hostility towards foreign-born people/ethnic minorities

 

Key findings – gender

  • Women are 10% more likely than men to be experiencing post-Referendum anxiety spike

    • Men are more than twice (150%) as women likely to be anxious about jobs post-Brexit.

    • Men are also 25% more likely than women more likely to be anxious about the economy.

    • Women are 64% more likely than men to be anxious about rising hostilities toward foreign-born residents and immigrants.

    • Women are 24% more likely than men to worry about being blamed for how they voted.

 

Key findings – by region and city

Edinburgh residents reported the highest overall spike in anxiety levels. 33% said their anxiety was ‘significantly worse’ than before the referendum.

Brighton and Hove reported the next highest spike, with 27% reporting significantly worse anxiety levels, followed by Leicester (24%), Liverpool (22%) and Manchester (24%).

13% of Norwich residents said their anxiety levels were ‘significantly better’ post Referendum.

 

Key findings – by vote

  • Fewer than 1% of Britons reported feeling guilty about how they voted.

  • 79% of Remain voters report increased anxiety, with more than a third (77%) saying their anxiety has become ‘significantly worse’ after the vote.

    • Rising hostility is the biggest driver of anxiety for the Remain camp, aside from general uncertainty and economic impact.

  • Almost a third of those who didn’t vote (31%) say they’re also experiencing an increase in anxiety.

    • The biggest anxiety source for non-voters was impact of Brexit on jobs, aside from general uncertainty and economic impact.

  • 17% of Leave voters report increased anxiety.

    • Leavers are most anxious about uncertainty around when Article 50 will be triggered, aside from general uncertainty and economic impact.

 

How has the vote impacted those already suffering with anxiety?

52% of anxiety sufferers say they’re currently experiencing a spike in their symptoms, with 31% saying their symptoms have worsened “moderately” and 22% saying their symptoms have worsened “significantly”.

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*OnePoll (members of ESOMAR and the Market Research Society) surveyed a nationally representative sample of  2,000 UK adults on behalf of bcalm between 29/06/2016 and 01/07/2016.

**Aside from ‘general uncertainty’ and ‘economic impact’.