Impact of stress on a nation

Impact of stress on a nation

Impact of Stress


According to the National Library of Medicine, Stress is a feeling of physical and emotional tension. The turn of the decade has graced us with stressful circumstances with the utmost generosity. On December 31, Covid-19 was first reported from within china and a month later declared the outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. 2022 hasn’t started in the best ways as the globe reels from the conflict between Ukraine and Russia. During these challenging times, the discussions on stress and its impacts are relevant.


Impact of Stress

Impact of Stress: Poverty

Stress and poverty go hand in hand since there is an element of insecurity. For the bearers of that responsibility, heads of households are placed under immense pressure to deliver food and shelter security in most cases. This type of stress is referred to as poverty-related stress (PRS11), which can amplify other types of stress. Individuals with this stress feel incapable of mounting a defense against existing and new challenges (Wadsworth & Rienks, 2012).

Economic growth is the main foundation for efforts to reduce poverty and create better living conditions. However, as history has taught us, the lines of what is termed economic growth are blurred. If a county builds kilometers of roads and rising skyscrapers while most citizens struggle, does that count as economic growth? According to Investopedia, economic growth refers to the increase in the production of goods and services (Investopedia, 2021).

Due to Covid 19 and the war in Ukraine, millions of individuals and families are homeless with no foreseeable source of income. An increase in people living in poverty directly impacts the government, creating an endless cycle. A case in point is the refugee crisis that has hit Poland due to the war in Ukraine. The economic crash of 1997, 2007- 2008, or the Covid 19 pandemic are examples that expose the vulnerabilities of the global economy. In these cases, the citizens of a country are collectively affected.

Impact of Stress: Addiction

A person with addiction is psychologically and physically dependent on a substance, activity, or person to satisfy their pleasures. Forms of addiction rely on an individual’s vulnerabilities to make chronic changes to the person’s brain reward system. People are different; therefore, people have varied means of responding to stressors. For some people, stress will push them into addictive tendencies to cope with the stress. These individuals may lack education or have emotional instability for the most part.

Individuals living on or under the poverty line are most likely to be poor or increase poverty due to addictions. The psychology of addiction shows that some seek adventure while others do it out of desperation. Some people use gambling as a sport and leisure tool, while others are vulnerable to gambler’s fallacy. A person will understand the dangers of gambling; however, seeing their friend win or seven black numbers come up in a row can convince one to gamble (Kingsway Recovery, 2022).

Psychological processes are crucial to how people approach forms of addiction. Using addictions to cope with stressful circumstances is an approach that brings out the worst in people. Factors such as poverty place one under vast amounts of stress, making them vulnerable to addiction and a consequent financial, health, and mental downward spiral. Individuals dealing with trauma, abandonment issues, or other circumstances can also fall into addiction despite financial security. In fact, financial security is likely to worsen the addiction.

Unfortunately, drug use, gambling, or other addictions place more stress on an individual, family structure, and broader community. Feeling the effects of the stressor as gradual and selective since not everyone has equal sets of circumstances. For a family or individual, consequences of stress lead to a rift in relationships resulting in domestic abuse, divorce, layoffs, and mental health issues. On a societal level, the affected community will deal with issues such as violence and prostitution, with the government’s involvement or lack of determining the damage.

What can be done?

Psychological input is necessary for trying to build a society capable of thriving. It is a fragile undertaking to rebuild an economy since unforeseen factors can derail its progress. However, approaching the issue from a societal and psychological perspective is helpful to understand why people behave the way they do and what can be done. It can also help identify individuals capable of handling a significant responsibility to rebuild a nation’s economy (American Psychological Association, 2021).

The psychological perspective does not discriminate between the haves and has not. The influential and elite of the society and the local criminal can be judged on the merit of ethics. It is easy to pinpoint the root of every evil resulting from the deterioration of values in society. Society is infested with deeds of corruption, violence, and moral decay that have destroyed societies’ economic, political, and religious fabric. Any form of national prosperity depends on enforcing the laws of the land without exception.

Stress reduction is challenging, especially on a societal level, since numerous variables are considered. It often becomes problematic when one person is responsible for causing the stressor case in point with nations under a dictatorship. This relationship can be seen between a tenant and landlord, lecturer and student, or father and son. Psychology can help identify the motivators for someone in power to abuse it. It is also helpful to understand why many individuals fall into submission through violence or psychological manipulation.

Resources for Psychological and addiction treatment in Kenya.

  1. Fountain of Hope Treatment Centre, Nairobi.

  1. Amani Counselling Centre and Training Institute

  • Kenyatta National Hospital: Mental Health Department

  1. Mathari National Teaching & Referral Hospital Nairobi


On August 9, 2022, Kenya will participate in its general election, which is a huge determinant of its future. However, the citizens are heading towards the event under high-stress levels. Rising levels of inflation, unemployment, and poverty are rising; therefore, the prevalence of issues like violence, drug, and gambling addiction is unsurprising. Therefore, I propose that psychological management of stress is more of a necessity than economic development promises. Education is needed to help people pay more attention to psychological stressors and societal impacts. How much stress do you think a nation handle before breaking?




AmericanPsychologicalAssociation. (2021). Psychology’s Impact. Retrieved from

Investopedia. (2021, January 1). Economic Growth. Retrieved from

KingswayRecovery. (2022). The Psychology of Gambling. Retrieved from,Psychological,neural%20processes%20as%20drug%20addiction.

Wadsworth, M. E., & Rienks, S. L. (2012, July). Stress as a mechanism of poverty’s ill effects on children: Making a case for family strengthening interventions that counteract poverty-related stress. Retrieved from,%2Drelated%20stress%20(PRS11).