Washington | The 2016 US Presidential election is a significant source of stress for over half the Americans, with those using social media more likely to be affected, according to a new survey ahead of one of the most adversarial contests in recent history.
Daily coverage of the US presidential election dominates every form of mass media.
The survey was conducted online among 3,511 adults aged over 18 living in the US by the American Psychological Association.
About 52 per cent of American adults reported that the 2016 election is a very or somewhat significant source of stress.
“We’re seeing that it doesn’t matter whether you’re registered as a Democrat or Republican – US adults say they are experiencing significant stress from the current election,” said Lynn Bufka, APA’s associate executive director for practice research and policy.
Across party lines, those registered as Democrats and Republicans are statistically equally likely to say the election is a very or somewhat significant source of stress.
“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,” said Bufka.
In fact, the survey showed that social media appears to affect Americans’ stress levels when it comes to the election and related topics.
Nearly 4 in 10 adults said that political and cultural discussions on social media cause them stress.
In addition, adults who use social media are more likely than adults who do not to say the election is a very or somewhat significant source of stress.
While men and women are equally likely (51 pe rcent vs 52 per cent) to say the 2016 US presidential election is a very or somewhat significant source of stress, election stress differs among generations of Americans.
Millennials and “matures” are the most likely to say the election is a very or somewhat significant source of stress (56 per cent vs 59 per cent) – significantly more than Generation Xers (45 per cent) but not boomers (50 per cent).
Survey findings show that election-related stress does not confine itself to one racial or ethnic group. Rather, it appears to manifest across groups – more so in some than others.
Hispanics, in particular, are most likely to say that the election is a very or somewhat significant source of stress (56 per cent), followed by Whites and Native Americans at 52 per cent each.