It is now a scientific fact. Americans are feeling overstressed and anxious about the results of the upcoming presidential election. According to a survey made by the American Psychological Association (APA), 52% of American adults, regardless of their political views, feel stressed about the presidential election.
If there’s something that democrats and republicans can agree on is that the upcoming election is making everybody anxious and the APA survey, published on Thursday, seems to agree with that statement. Americans are feeling the tension between the two presidential nominees and can’t get away from the subject
Americans are feeling the tension between the two presidential candidates and can’t get away from the subject, social media, and broadcasting companies serve as a constant reminder to citizens worried about the elections.
“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,” explained Lynn Bufka, APA’s associative executive director for practice research and policy, in the survey
An anxious nation
In 2015 the APA released its yearly report on how Americans deal with stressful situations, last year citizens were highly affected by the amount of sexual, racial, economic discrimination in the country and that was reflected in their stress levels.
But as 2016 comes to an end, Americans are feeling stressful over the Trump vs. Hilary feud that has been taking over the country. The past few months have been filled with headlines regarding the presidential nominees and their permanent contrapositions. Whether is Trump’s most recent scandal or Hillary’s personal documents, it seems as the story keeps on going.
The APA performed its annual survey by conducting an online questionary trough the website Harris Poll, Americans 18-years and older answered the survey through the whole month of August as they reported their opinions and feelings about the upcoming presidential election.
A wide variety of 4,000 U.S citizens answered to the APA’s report, which ended up reflecting that 52% of the American public considers the upcoming election as a somewhat significant source of stress.
“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,” said Bufka in the published report.
Republicans showed levels of stress of 59% while Democrats showed 55% of stress levels regarding the upcoming elections. However, according to the APA, Democrats and Republicans feel the same amount of stress when they discuss or thinks about the upcoming presidential election since the four percentage point difference is considered statistically equivalent.
The survey reflected the concern levels among different generations of Americans, with 59% of the mature population (71 years and older) feeling more stressed than others in the country. Researchers consider this to be an odd result, given that in the vast majority of polls, mature adults seem to be more careless than the rest of the populations.
“We do know that older adults typically report lower stress levels than younger generations, so it is particularly surprising to see the reverse is the case with the election,” said Vaile Wright, a psychologist from APA’s Stress in America team.
Wright considers that there are only two logical explanations for the odd data, one being that older adults seem to be concerned about their children’s and grandchildren’s future or that important subjects to them, such as Medicare, prescriptions, and Social Security issues are not being talked about by the presidential candidates.
Millenials seem to be the second most-worried- population when it comes to the election process. This data could be directly related to APA’s finding of social media users being more stressed and concerned than non-social media users.
According to the report, 54% of adults who use social media as a constant form of education are more stressed about the political situation than the 45% population that avoids social media.
Boomers, 52 years old to 70 years old, came at third place with their stress levels up to 50% and Gen Xers (38 to 51 years old) showed a 45% of election-related stress. According to the APA, Hispanics were the most anxious group among different racial groups with a 56 percentage.
Avoid election-related stress
The American Psychological Association, also released a set of guidelines for those citizens feeling disturbed, anxious or stressed about the upcoming presidential elections in November.
These are the APA’s recommendations:
- If the 24-hour news cycle of claims and counterclaims from the candidates is causing you stress, limit your media consumption. Read just enough to stay informed. Turn off the newsfeed or take a digital break. Take some time for yourself, go for a walk, or spend time with friends and family doing things that you enjoy.
- Avoid getting into discussions about the election if you think they have the potential to escalate to conflict. Be cognizant of the frequency with which you’re discussing the election with friends, family members or coworkers.
- Stress and anxiety about what might happen is not productive. Channel your concerns to make a positive difference on issues you care about. Consider volunteering in your community, advocating for an issue you support or joining a local group. Remember that in addition to the presidential election, there are state and local elections taking place in many parts of the country, providing more opportunities for civic involvement.
- Whatever happens on Nov. 8, life will go on. Our political system and the three branches of government mean that we can expect a significant degree of stability immediately after a major transition of government. Avoid catastrophizing, and maintain a balanced perspective.
- Vote. In a democracy, a citizen’s voice does matter. By voting, you will hopefully feel you are taking a proactive step and participating in what for many has been a stressful election cycle. Find balanced information to learn about all the candidates and issues on your ballot (not just the presidential race), make informed decisions and wear your “I voted” sticker with pride.