Study: 24-Hour News & Political Outrage is Making You Ill
A new study states that never-ending outrage campaigns, social media, and 24-hour news cycles are creating more polarization and making people stressed and ill.
The study stated that nearly 40% of Americans surveyed for the study said politics is stressing them out, and one in five are losing sleep.
These responses and others show many in the United States believe their mental and physical health has been harmed in some way by exposure to politics.
The research, led by Nebraska political scientist Kevin Smith, is the first to look comprehensively at the physical and emotional costs of paying attention to and participating in political discourse.
Smith said: “It became apparent, especially during the 2016 electoral season, that this [the U.S.] was a polarized nation, and it was getting even more politically polarized.
“The cost of that polarization to individuals had not fully been accounted for by social scientists or, indeed, health researchers.”
Smith said the results, which were published Sept. 25 in the journal PLOS ONE, are akin to a public health crisis.
“Quite a few of the numbers jumped out at me,” Smith said. “Twenty percent have damaged friendships because of political disagreements. One in five report fatigue. And it’s a small (proportion), but 4% of the people in our sample said they’ve had suicidal thoughts because of politics. That translates into 10 million adults.”
Data were collected by YouGov for five days in March 2017, with 800 respondents.
YouGov uses a panel of 1.8 million people to create representative samples.