Head to any social networking site — from Twitter to Facebook — or turn on the news and you’ll notice that we’re currently living in very contentious political times.
With the U.S. midterm elections coming up on Tuesday, it’s pretty difficult to avoid political discussions, particularly highly charged ones.
It can be stressful to jump into the political fray, but exactly what kind of impact can the current climate have on people psychologically?
One study recently published in the Journal of American College Health found that the 2016 presidential election was reported to be an especially traumatic experience by some college students, resulting in some symptoms associated with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Lead study author Melissa Hagan, PhD, MPH, an assistant professor of psychology at San Francisco State University, and her team surveyed 769 students enrolled in psychology classes at Arizona State University in January and February 2017, just months following the election.
The students answered questions in a psychological assessment known as the Impact of Event Scale. The scale is used to measure how an event might impact a person, leading them to develop PTSD, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
The study found that 25 percent of the students crossed the threshold that would show “clinically significant” levels of stress, with the average score measuring up to those of people seven months after witnessing a mass shooting.
The team also found that black and nonwhite Hispanic students had higher scores than their white classmates. Female students scored 45 percent higher than their male peers. Democrats scored about two and a half times higher than Republicans, following the election of President Donald Trump.