Politics still makes people sick

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Scroll social media, browse websites, watch podcasts, watch news. With so many options, it’s never been easier to follow American politics, but how much does it cost?

According to a study by Kevin Smith, a political scientist at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, all political jokes were detrimental to our health, lasted for some time, and even changes in party power did not help. ..

In a groundbreaking 2017 research follow-up, he was the first American to be physically, social, mental and Emotional health, Smith published a new article at PLOS ONE.. Smith repeated the same 32 question surveys in 2020 twice, two weeks before and two weeks after the election. The 2020 findings reflect the 2017 results and reiterate that the majority of American adults blame politics for causing stress, sleep loss, and disruption of relationships. discovered.

Similar to the 2017 survey results, the 2020 survey found that an estimated 40% of Americans identified politics as a significant source of stress. In addition, one-fifth to one-third of adults (50-85 million) blamed politics for causing fatigue, feelings of anger, loss of temper, and compulsive behavior. About a quarter of adults report that they seriously considered moving for politics.

According to Smith, it should be wary that the results are almost stable after nearly four years.

“This second survey is fairly conclusively showing that the first survey was not out of the left fielder. What the first survey found is that many Americans have experienced it. “It actually shows,” said Smith, chairman and professor of political science. “It’s also unpleasant to think that nothing has changed during that period. Most American adults truly recognize that politics is having a serious impact on social, psychological and even physical health. increase.”

Smith repeated surveys of people in the same group before and after the election to see if the outcome of the election would ultimately change people’s perceptions.

“I wondered if the change of presidential position would change attitudes, as it did,” Smith said. “The simple answer is no.” “If anything, the cost that people find politics tough on their health has increased a bit after the election.”

The most surprising thing for Smith was the recurring discovery that 5% of Americans blame politics for suicidal ideation.

“One in 20 adults is thinking of suicide for politics,” Smith said. “It was revealed in the first survey of 2017 and I wondered if it was a statistical artifact, but the two subsequent surveys found exactly the same thing, so millions of Americans Adults are thinking of suicide for politics. This is serious. Health problems. “

Adults most likely to be adversely affected by politics were young, democratic, interested in politics, and strongly involved in politics.

“If you have a profile of someone who is likely to experience these effects from politics, it’s people with those characteristics,” Smith said.

In addition to pointing out the possibility of a health crisis, Smith warned that the findings could be a bad recipe for democracy.

“There is potential for a demobilization effect here,” Smith said. “If people see politics as a great conflict and potentially a threat to their own well-being, they would say,” Along with that, I don’t want to get involved. ” And democracy depends on participation. We need citizens to be involved in citizenship. “

So how can these effects be mitigated? Smith said this is a question that he plans to investigate further in future research, but his team has identified one possible tool. It is to acquire more political knowledge.

“People with more political knowledge were less likely to report these negative consequences,” Smith said. “What I really want to see is that if you take people who are politically interested but have no particular political knowledge and they are given information about the political system, it is the negative cost of these politics. Will it reduce? It may be a positive outcome of previously unthinkable civil education. ”

Stressed: Americans are fed up with politics

For more information:
Politics is sickening us: the negative effects of political involvement in public health during the Trump administration,PLOS ONE (2022).

Quote: Politics still makes people sick (January 14, 2022) Obtained from January 14, 2022

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