Society

Poll: More Than Half Of Americans Are Stressed By Politics

| by Robert Fowler

New polling indicates that more than half of Americans are stressed out by the current political climate as President Donald Trump's administration nears its first month. The data indicates the American stress levels have only risen following the heated presidential election season.

On Feb. 15, a survey conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of the American Psychological Association (APA) found that more than half of national adults drew stress from politics. Of those polled, 57 percent said that the political climate either largely or somewhat contributed to their stress levels.

The findings signal that Americans are feeling even more anxiety about politics following the 2016 election than they were during the contentious race between Trump and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. In October 2016, an APA survey found that 52 percent of respondents derived stress from the looming November election, Bloomberg reports.

The latest survey also found that 66 percent of respondents were stressed out about the future of the country. Even more alarming, 76 percent of self-identified Democrats were apprehensive about America's direction while 59 percent of self-identified Republicans felt similarly.

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Stress as a direct result of Trump's victory varied along both partisan and geographical lines. While 72 percent of Democrats were stressed by the election result, only 26 percent of Republicans drew anxiety from Trump's win, The Hill reports.

Meanwhile, 62 percent of urban dwellers were stressed by the election results while only 45 percent of respondents living in the suburbs felt similarly. Rural Americans were the most serene about Trump's victory, with only 33 percent feeling stress about the election result.

The survey also found that along generational lines, nearly 60 percent of Millennials were feeling stress while only 45 percent of Baby Boomers felt similarly. Members of Generation X were the most relaxed, with less than 40 percent feeling stressed.

The data also indicated that African-Americans were the most stressed racial group while Caucasians were the least stressed.

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The APA noted that the results of their latest survey saw the largest increase in national stress since they began conducting polls in 2007.

"The fact that two-thirds of Americans are saying the future of the nation is causing them stress, it is a startling number," psychologist Vaile Wright of the APA's Stress in America team told The Washington Post. "It seems to suggest that what people thought would happen, that there would be relief [after the election] did not occur, and instead since the election, stress has increased."

Wright recommended that Americans stressed out by politics should stop their news intake after a certain hour in the day. She asserted that keeping up with the headlines at night will only "get you riled up again when you should be prioritizing going to sleep, winding down, preparing for the next day ... burnout isn't going to help anybody."

The number-one thing therapists recommend doing for those stressed by politics, according to The Huffington Post?  Focus on what you can do. 

Marcia Valenstein, professor of psychiatry at the University of Michigan, said how she copes: “I discuss the issues with friends or trusted colleagues. I decide if there is any action I can take that meshes with other life and professional demands, and then ‘let go of it’ and move on to other activities or thoughts that might be productive or give joy.”

Sources: BloombergThe Hill, The Huffington Post, The Washington Post / Photo credit: kizzzbeth/Flickr

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