Middle East tops index in negative emotions

Middle East tops index in negative emotions

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Middle East tops index in negative emotions

An Iraqi woman and her children inspect damages at their apartment following a mortar attack in the Bataween area of central Baghdad on May 24, 2012. AFP Photo

People living in Iraq, the Palestinian Territories, Bahrain, and a number of other Middle Eastern countries are among the most likely worldwide to experience many negative emotions on a daily basis, according to Gallup’s Negative Experience Index. Among the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) member countries, Turkey and Greece share the top rank of the index with a score of 38.

Iraq’s score of 59 on the index in 2011, which is based on respondents’ reports of experiencing anger, stress, worry, sadness, and physical pain, is the highest in the world. The Palestinian Territories placed a distant second with a score of 43.

The Negative Experience Index is a measure of respondents’ experienced wellbeing on the day before the survey, providing real-time measures of respondents’ negative emotions and pain. The findings in the analysis are based on Gallup interviews in 148 countries in 2011.

Iraq’s world-high score reflects a spike in negative emotions in 2011, with residents reporting near-record levels of sadness, stress, anger, physical pain, and worry. Situations were similar in Egypt.

In fact, index scores in several of the Arab Spring countries where Gallup could conduct surveys placed them in the global top 10 of daily negative emotions.

The U.S. was in the top quartile for daily negative emotions in 2011, scoring a 32 with an increase in sadness, worry, and physical pain since 2007. This score puts the U.S. higher than many OECD member countries, but lower than Hungary, Spain, Israel, Chile, Greece and Turkey. Americans’ negative emotions were at their lowest level in 2007, the year before the economic downturn, when the U.S. index score was 23.

The countries with the lowest reported negative emotions worldwide are all in Asia, with the exception of Mali, Trinidad and Tobago, and the Somaliland region of Somalia. In addition, five of the countries with the lowest Negative Experience Index scores are former Soviet Union countries, including Russia, which had a score of 16.

For the complete list of the countries and their score, please click here