End the duopoly

Mitchell Rosen: Handling the stresses driven by politics and TV news

A few weeks ago, I wrote a column about the emotional cost to families and individuals living in such a politically polarized nation.

An article was sent to me written by Smith, Hibbing and Hibbing, who published their findings in PLOS ONE, a public research site. This article attempted to scientifically assess the type of individual most likely to suffer, “…psychological, emotional, social and physical costs as a result of politics…”

According to this article, the American Psychological Association [APA] found that 57 percent of Americans identified politics as a very or somewhat significant source of stress. The research article sent to me used survey instruments that crossed economic, demographic, age and gender lines to report that 40 percent of those surveyed experienced political stress, and of those roughly 20 percent report losing sleep, being fatigued or suffering depression because of politics. Twenty-five percent reported that they think and focus on politics more than they want.

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The research identified the following person as most likely to have negative consequences: Unemployed and younger males who are politically liberal. The article also stated there is not much comprehensive research on this issue and their own research has limitations in that the survey instruments used have not been independently verified as the most accurate and the sample of Americans may or may not represent typical Americans.

In other words, this was a pretty good first step towards trying to quantify and understand the toll political polarization is taking on Americans.

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