Australians report higher levels of anxiety than Americans on issues like climate change, and virtually identical levels of anxiety about the affordability of healthcare despite Australia’s stronger social safety net, according to new research from the United States Studies Centre (USSC) at the University of Sydney.

The comparison of self-reported anxiety in both Australia and the United States was conducted as part of an ongoing polling partnership between the USSC and YouGov. The survey asked respondents how often they felt anxious about scenarios including losing their job or business, not being able to afford healthcare, failure at work and climate change.

USSC Innovation and Entrepreneurship Program Director Claire McFarland said that despite the common perception that healthcare costs in the United States are out of control and highly stressful for many Americans — and that Medicare provided Australians with a safety net — respondents in both countries showed similar levels of anxiety about this issue.

"This suggests that Australian policymakers cannot be complacent about the perceptions and reality of the costs of medical care in Australia," McFarland said.

“Across a range of issues, the USSC-YouGov poll found that Australians are as, or more likely, to report anxiety than Americans. This surprised us, with Australians often considered fairly easygoing, and Americans seen as a far more anxious, stressful society.”

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