9 May 2022


Psychological States of Americans

Format: MLA

Academic level: College

Paper type: Research Paper

Words: 1197

Pages: 4

Downloads: 0

Research on the internal states of Americans conducted in 2004 and 2013 revealed interesting facts about the extent of happiness and other psychological states of Americans (Buendía, 2014). This research featured different approaches that used a number of intertwined variables which manifests rapid rate of technological development together with other trends in America. These trends were deemed universally influential in the daily lives of Americans, impacting both positively and negatively on Americans’ internal psychological states. The variables presented include optimism versus pessimism, happiness and moods, and the impact of social media on the level of happiness of Americans. Men were compared to women in these variables and gender differences on these states are also taken into consideration in making the final conclusion. Various conclusions can be drawn from these three variables on an assumption that the figures portray the current Americans’ psychological state. 

Optimism versus Pessimism

Optimists perceive the glass that is half-way as being half-full while pessimists perceive the same glass as half empty. Averagely, 15% of Americans were found to be pessimistic compared to 79% of optimistic Americans in the same year. On the other hand, only 2 percent of Americans was of the view that they were neither optimists nor pessimists while 1% refused to give their opinion. Nine years later, the number of pessimists dropped by 9 % while that of optimists dropped by 19%. The percentage of those who were found to be somewhere in between pessimism and optimism was found to be 2% but in 2003, this percentage rose by a wide margin of 41%, bringing it to 43 % (Buendía, 2014). It can be concluded that self-certainty reduced drastically from 2004 to 2013, hence the huge increase in the number of Americans uncertain of themselves. While it can be expected that the number of Americans found to be optimists should have increased due to the decrease in the percentage of pessimists, this is not what the figures reveal. This implies that most Americans are shifting from both optimism and pessimism towards self-uncertainty. The percentage decrease in the number of pessimists is sharper than the decrease in the percentage of optimists. This implies that most Americans are moving from pessimism towards optimism. However, majority are still stagnated at the point of self uncertainty. This stagnation can be ascribed to the ongoing political and economic uncertainties in America, thus rendering most Americans as marginal individuals somewhere between optimistic and pessimistic. 

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Happiness and Moods

The percentage of Americans who are as happy as they expect to be is 41% while those who experience happiness beyond expectations are averagely 28%. In any case, both groups are satisfied. Therefore, the average percentage of Americans who experience complete satisfaction is the sum total of overly satisfied and averagely satisfied individuals, adding up to 69%. On the other hand, 27% of Americans are not as satisfied as they expect to be. This means that among the 27%, there are some who are satisfied to some extent, only that they have not attained their ideal extent of happiness. It can therefore be concluded that over 70% of Americans are happy, but at different degrees, ranging from very happy to somehow happy. Americans who derive happiness from achieving a goal are more than those who derive their happiness from working towards achieving a goal. Those who derive happiness from working towards a goal can be said to be patriotic to their work and possess intrinsic integrative motivation towards work (Buendía, 2014). 

The average number of people who worked towards improving their moods was higher in 2004 compared to 2013. It can be concluded that the situation of Americans’ moods was worse in 2004 than in 2013. This is because more people saw the need to work on their mood in 2004, which means that upon achieving the desired moods, fewer people are still working on improving their moods. Major enhancements of moods in the order of most common to the least common include praying/meditating, helping others, having sex, eating and shopping. According to Murphy (2008), subconscious mind gets relived during relaxation. Most often, depression, anxiety and stress which damage an individual’s moods impact adversely on the subconscious processes. It is until an individual gets relaxed that he/she can reconcile with his/her moods to achieve emotional stability. From the bar graph, major ways of improving moods also involve relaxation of the mind. Shopping and eating which rank as the least involve little relaxation of mind and involvement of the subconscious part of the mind. Having sex involves relaxation of mind. However, it ranks as the third in its effectiveness to enhance moods. According to Emmers-Sommer, Allen, Kohler & Burrell (2017), sexual adventure results in happiness that is limited to the process and not the product or the outcome. There is a substantial degree of guilt associated with sex, which is often repressed afterwards. All that matters in sex is the means and not the ends. Therefore, very few people can actually recognize sexual satisfaction and change of moods after having sex. Although helping others is not a subconscious process that requires relation of the mind, it ranks second among the ways of improving moods. This implies that Americans derive great satisfaction when they help others out of their problems or troubles. The fact that an individual can regain his/or her best moods after helping others means that he/she must have been personally affected with the problems that face others. Individuals who try to feel exactly the way others feel when they are confronted with problems rank highly in empathy. This shows that approximately 38% of Americans are empathetic.

Social Media

Of the 56% Americans who spend time on social media, only 38% feel better about their life after spending their time on social media compared to 60% of those who do not feel happy after spending their time on social media. Majority of those who feel happy after spending time on social media are democrats who enjoy connecting with others. The difference between democrats and republicans on the social media is that majority of democrats mostly connect with others while democrats feel better for others. Most Americans neither feel happy nor worse after spending their time on social media. Very few individuals feel better (38%) and worse (23%) after spending their time on social media. This shows that the impact of social media on people’s moods is not as great as the impact of other activities such as meditation and helping others. 

The percentage of women who felt worse and isolated after spending time and comparing themselves with other women on the social media is higher than the percentage of men who felt the same after spending time and comparing themselves with other men on the social media. This confirms that women rank higher in envy as compared to+ men. This can be explained on the basis of Sigmund Freud’s psychosexual theory which posits that women experience Electra-complex at phallic stage of psychosexual development which is not easily resolved among most women. Characteristics of Electra-complex include the desire to be loved more than others (Karlsson, 2017). Freud theorized that men go through the phallic stage smoothly, overcoming the conflict brought about by oedipal complex through identification with the father and vicarious possession of the mother (Karlsson, 2017).

From the figures presented about the psychological states of Americans, it can be concluded that most Americans are still uncertain of whether they are pessimists of optimists due to social, political and economic factors. Most activities that involve relaxation of the mind are the major enhancements of moods. Women are more likely to experience stress after spending time on the social media and comparing themselves with other women as opposed to men. This scenario is evident in Freud’s characteristics of phallic stage. Generally, American’s have improved in terms of happiness, emotional stability and other psychological processes as compared between the 2004 and 2014 statistics. 


Buendía, F. C. (2014). The Happiness of Pursuit. In Cultural Producers and Social Change in Latin America (pp. 1-15). Palgrave Macmillan US.

Emmers-Sommer, T. M., Allen, M., Kohler, K. V., & Burrell, N. (2017). Implications of sex guilt: A meta-analysis. Marriage & Family Review , (just-accepted).

Karlsson, G. (2017). Phallic Stage. Encyclopedia of Personality and Individual Differences , 1-4.

Murphy, J. (2008). The power of your subconscious mind . Penguin.

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StudyBounty. (2023, September 16). Psychological States of Americans.


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