Cision PR Newswire

Inability to Overcome Differences Top Concern for US Adults

SAN FRANCISCO, Jan. 24, 2023 /PRNewswire/ - What could be more concerning than climate change, terrorism, homelessness, and limited access to reproductive rights among US adults? According to the results of a new study by Ignite 360, a San Francisco-based insights and strategy firm, it's our inability to overcome differences of opinion. This issue was top ranked in a list of 25 issues presented to 1,500 survey respondents, falling behind only rising food prices, gas prices, and home energy prices.

"It's expected in today's economy that pocketbook issues like rising prices are going to be the biggest concern for most Americans. Food prices topped the list at 71%, with gas prices a concern for 64%, and home energy prices a concern for 63% of US adults. But right behind these three was the inability to overcome differences of opinion (62%). That surprised me," says study author and empathy expert Rob Volpe.

60% of respondents indicated that political polarization in the US was a top concern for them as well. These two issues are closely linked, according to Volpe, and empathy is key to overcoming both. "The first step in overcoming differences of opinion is to take a curious breath and try to understand the point of view of others," says Volpe. "If we are unable to dismantle our judgment and reach a place of empathy, then of course we won't be able to overcome our differences. And many of the remaining items on the list are highly charged societal issues that require collaboration and understanding to solve. Building empathy will be vitally important if we hope to move forward on any issue—otherwise, our inability to solve these issues will eclipse the actual issues themselves."

The survey, fielded in September 2022, asked 1,500 US adults how they personally feel about 25 different issues. Additional issues and the percentage of US adults who indicated they were "fairly worried" or "extremely worried" about them include:

Food prices

71 %

Gas prices

64 %

Home energy prices

63 %

Inability to overcome differences of opinion

62 %

Political polarization in government

60 %

Cyber theft or online security

57 %


55 %

Climate change and related problems

55 %


53 %

Personal safety from crime or violence

52 %

Women's health issues, e.g., access to birth control, abortion rights, etc.

50 %

Racial inequality or discrimination

50 %


47 %

Drug addiction or substance abuse

44 %

Losing your job or source of income

37 %

As a thought leader in the role of empathy in the workplace, Rob frequently speaks on the topic at conferences, corporations, and college classes. He recently delivered a standing room only presentation about practicing empathy with diverse populations at the 2022 American Library Association's national conference. He has been quoted in Advertising Week, Good Things Utah on KTVX-TV, WTHR-TV's 5:30 pm newscast, HuffPost,, Gourmet Retailer and the Chicago Tribune, among others. He is also a contributor for Entrepreneur's Leadership Network, writing about empathy in the workplace, and is the author of the book Tell Me More About That: Solving the Empathy Crisis One Conversation at a Time (Page Two, February 2022).

For the full list of issues and responses or to connect with Rob, please contact Rob is available to share his expertise with the media in the form of an interview or op-ed.

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SOURCE Page Two Books

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