Financial crisis worries more than possible diseases
Is the financial and debt crisis feared more than diseases? A representative study by the DAK Gesundheit examines the Germans' fear of illnesses and ascertains that the health concerns of the population are clearly declining. A possible explanation is the growing concern about a continuing financial crisis, which displaces fears of health problems, according to the DAK.
In total, 88 percent of those questioned in the DAK survey rated their state of health as good or very good. Significantly fewer people were afraid of serious physical or mental illnesses than in the previous year, according to the current DAK Gesundheit report. The Germans are still most afraid of cancer or a malignant tumor.
3,000 people questioned about their fear of diseases On behalf of DAK Gesundheit, the Forsa Institute surveyed 3,000 men and women about their fear of diseases. The representative survey shows that overall there was a significant decline in disease fears compared to the previous year. The decline in fear of mental illness was particularly drastic (from 36 percent in 2011 to 28 percent today). But the widespread fear of cancer has also decreased by five percentage points to 68 percent. However, two thirds of Germans are still afraid of a malignant tumor. For the other disease fears, the researchers observed not only a significant decrease in fears overall, but also significant shifts in some cases. For example, "for the first time, more people are afraid of Alzheimer's and dementia than of a stroke, although the fear of these diagnoses also decreased noticeably compared to the previous year," reports the DAK.
Media reporting influences the fears of the population According to the DAK expert Dieter Carius, it seems as if "permanent media reports on diseases and health risks also fuel people's fears." Accordingly, the reactor accident in Fukuschima, Japan, has the EHEC epidemic and Alzheimer's - Illness from ex-Schalke manager Rudi Assauer and the "burnout" of football coach Ralf Rangnick caused increased fear of illness due to their media presence last year. This year, however, the financial crisis dominated the reporting, which is why "many people probably now have problems other than worrying about possible diseases," said the DAK expert. This assessment is confirmed by the survey results in the individual federal states. For example, last year a quarter of the people in Baden-Württemberg (the state with the most widespread fear of cancer) cited the discussion about nuclear power and reactor accidents as the reason for the fear of a malignant tumor. This year, however, 36 percent fewer people in Baden-Württemberg gave a corresponding reason. Here it becomes clear how very current events and the media reporting influence the fears of the population.
Fear of diseases with regional differences According to the latest DAK survey, most Germans rate their health status as positive and are accordingly not very afraid of serious mental or physical illnesses. However, there are clear regional differences. 92 percent of the respondents in Lower Saxony and Bavaria rated their health status as particularly good, while only 84 percent of the tail lights Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and Saxony-Anhalt came to such an assessment. Despite the overall decreasing fear of illness, the health care of the respondents did not decrease overall, reports the DAK. Accordingly, participation in cancer screenings, health checks and sports activities remained almost constant. In any case, "fear is a bad advisor when it comes to health-conscious behavior", explained DAK expert Dieter Carius and added: "It is always better if there are other reasons for motivation", because then "the chances of lasting success are much greater." (fp)
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