The Maltese are the angriest people in the EU while a large part of the population is also worried, stressed and in pain, according to a global study analysing citizens’ emotional state.
The study – carried out by US analytics company Gallup in more than 120 countries – found that a quarter of Maltese surveyed for the study said they had experienced anger a day before being questioned.
This rate, which Malta shares with Poland, was the third highest in Europe after Turkey and North Macedonia, and among the top 20 in the world.
The figure dramatically contrasts with that of fellow EU countries Finland, Estonia, Portugal and the Netherlands, which came in at the bottom five of the global list. In all four countries, the rate was lower than 10 per cent.
Some 1,000 people aged over 15 from each country were surveyed for the study.
The Maltese also worry a lot, it has emerged, with a whopping 64 per cent of those interviewed saying they were worried about something at some point in the day before they took part in the survey.
This rate was not only the highest in Europe but also the fourth highest in the world.
With both emotions, the respondents were not asked what could have prompted the negative feelings.
Along with anger and worry, half of the Maltese respondents also said they experienced stress the day before their interview. Of all EU states, only Cyprus registered a higher rate, at 53 per cent.
Monitoring joy, the Maltese came in at the lower end of the EU list, ranking second bottom only ahead of Portugal, whose citizens experienced the lowest level of enjoyment.
Angry, and also in some form of physical pain
Meanwhile, aside from their fragile emotional state, the Maltese were also found to be in the most physical pain in Europe.
Just under 40 per cent of those surveyed said they experienced some form of physical pain in the days before their interview.
All other EU countries registered lower rates. The survey did not identify what caused such physical pain. Nor did it describe the pain respondents experienced.
Despite the negative emotions and physical pain, over three quarters of the Maltese respondents said they were well-rested, the second-highest rate in the EU.
The emotional state of the Maltese has made headlines in recent years, with issues reported among different groups in society – be it workers, young people and even children.
On Monday, Times of Malta reported that over three quarters of employees experience work-related mental health issues. The figure grew significantly over the previous year.
Meanwhile, a study published in 2021 found that most young people would rather live elsewhere, with environmental issues and excessive construction among their main concerns.
Another nationwide study, published around the same time, had also shed light on children’s emotional state and had found they were also increasingly having to deal with widespread emotional issues as well as anxiety.
Despite the abysmal results from various surveys, the authorities and the government seem reluctant to admit that the nation’s emotional state could be crumbling.
Prime Minister Robert Abela, for instance, has repeatedly described life in Malta as “serene”, with people who live here enjoying “peace of mind”.
He made a similar argument when Russia invaded Ukraine in February, around the same time same time the Gallup survey was conducted.
Asked about the invasion, Abela had said the Maltese are “lucky” as they live in a “beautiful country where [they] enjoy stability, peace and serenity”.
The results in the report are based on nationally representative, probability-based samples among the adult population.
The Positive Experience Index and Negative Experience Index are calculated from surveys in 122 countries and areas in 2021 and early 2022.
The results are based on telephone or face-to-face surveys of approximately 1,000 or more respondents per country or area.
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