The U.S. presidential election is apparently a source of stress for the majority of Americans, according to a soon-to-release study by the American Psychological Association.
The study, titled “Stress in America,” shows that the intense contention and vitriol that has been embedded in the ongoing showdown between Republican candidate Donald Trump and Democratic rival Hillary Clinton has spilled over into the general public, leaving more than half of the country feeling at least somewhat disenchanted.
According to some of the results, which were released earlier this month ahead of the impending presidential election on Nov. 8 — and will be released in full in early 2017 — 52 percent of respondents reported that “the 2016 election is a very or somewhat significant source of stress.”
The organization did note, though, that “those who find the election to be a source of stress have a significantly higher overall stress level than those who don’t find the election stressful.” Still, the results are intriguing.
Election stress is impacting Democrats and Republicans, alike, according to a statement from the American Psychological Association, with Dr. Lynn Bufka, the organization’s associate executive director for practice research and policy, fully explaining the partisan breakdown.
“We’re seeing that it doesn’t matter whether you’re registered as a Democrat or Republican — U.S. adults say they are experiencing significant stress from the current election,” she said, noting that Republicans (59 percent) and Democrats (55 percent) were statistically equal in saying the election was a somewhat or very significant source of stress.
Burka continued, “Election stress becomes exacerbated by arguments, stories, images and video on social media that can heighten concern and frustration, particularly with thousands of comments that can range from factual to hostile or even inflammatory.”
In addition to majorities of Republicans and Democrats who said they experienced electoral stress, 46 percent of Independents said the same, according to a recap of the report.
Additionally, election-related stress was seen among all races and ethnicities as well, with 56 percent of Hispanics, 52 percent of whites, 52 percent of Native Americans, 46 percent of blacks and 43 percent of Asians reporting that the campaign was a somewhat or very significant source of stress.
Social media actually appears to be a big driver of said stress, as 38 percent of respondents said the political and cultural discussions that unfold on various platforms lead them to experience consternation.
The American Psychological Association concluded its press release about the data by offering up some tips to help alleviate stress, including limiting media consumption and avoiding discussions if one believes they will lead to conflict, among other points of advice.
The organization has been conducting its “Stress in America” survey over the past decade to assess the impact of stress on the public. It should be noted that the data for this year’s wave was collected from Aug. 5-31, 2016, and, thus, does not encompass reaction to the first two presidential debates, the vice-presidential debate or any other controversies that have since unfolded.
The survey included 3,511 Americans aged 18 and older.