A new survey indicates that people across the United States are still suffering nervousness and anxiety over the 2016 U.S. presidential election and its results, an outcome that left many in a state of anxiety about the future, even those that voted for the eventual winner, Donald Trump. With numbers hovering around 50 percent and higher, it appears that Americans, six months later, are still reeling in the aftermath of a contentious and often hostile campaign season, not to mention the election of a billionaire businessman who alienated half of the country and lost the popular vote by three million.
According to PR Newswire, a survey from CareDash, an online healthcare portal that seeks transparent doctor reviews and commissioned the poll by Radius Global Market Research, sought to better understand how the current political environment is affecting the mental health of their online users and the general population. A large number of respondents noted that they were suffering from election results anxiety, sort of another “Trump Effect” (the reported societal effect where candidate Donald Trump’s aggressive campaigning carried over to bullying and violence in the general populace), showing symptoms from general nervousness and anxiety about the 2016 election results and the Trump presidency to symptoms of being more argumentative about the election results, drinking and smoking more because of the results, and having less sex.
The most surprising aspect of the survey was that, contrary to most studies on the subject of individuals seeking medical attention, more men are seeking medical help for Trump-induced anxiety than women.
“The survey’s findings that more men than women are actively seeking medical help for Trump-induced anxiety is contradictory to established psychological research which has repeatedly shown that men are less likely than women to seek help from physicians and mental health professionals,” Dr. Steven Stosny (PhD), CareDash Medical Advisor and Washington, D.C.-area therapist, said of the study, which included over 2,000 participants. “What we are experiencing now is a new phenomenon where men, facing an onslaught of continued breaking news alerts, social media comments and alternative facts, feel that they no longer have the control or ability to protect their families in these uncertain times.”
In an election where both major candidates were polling low with regard to being viewed favorably, one of the main anxieties voiced was not just the fear of economic instability but the seeming increasing inability of young people not being able to find gainful employment. Then there were trust issues, especially with Democratic Party candidate Hillary Clinton and the continuing stories of emails of national importance being stored on private servers.
But following the election and Donald Trump’s surprise victory (for many), there was a period where verifiable facts were being disavowed and contradicted by the White House, like the president’s insistence that his inauguration crowd drew more people than President Barack Obama’s. When it was proven photographically that there weren’t anywhere near as many in attendance, the new president and his chief spokespeople, Sean Spicer and Kellyanne Conway, said that the presented “alternative facts,” a new term that the media branded as a euphemism for falsehoods.
In the ensuing weeks, the Trump administration has not only had battles with the press, labeling some outlets (like CNN and Buzzfeed) as “fake news,” but it has come to light that members of the Trump campaign had been under investigation by the FBI for dealings with Russian representatives (forcing several members of the new administration to resign) and that Russia made a concerted effort to not only hack into the major political parties’ computers but formulated plans to sway Americans to not vote for Hillary Clinton.
And then there is the growing tension with North Korea, where the rogue government has continued to test ballistic missiles in a show of defiance toward the United States and its allies, not to mention United Nations resolutions against nuclear tests and nuclear weapons proliferation. The Trump administration’s has engaged the North Koreans in a confrontational back-and-forth it has labeled a “new approach” that has resulted in increased tensions and given rise to fears of a regional and perhaps even a third world war.
“The November election results created the ‘perfect storm’ of rising anxiety and it’s affecting our national health,” Dr. Stosny said. “Anxiety and nervousness stem from the fear that something bad might happen. These feelings are intensified in times of uncertainty and are also contagious. What we see now is Americans trying to grapple with the uncertainty of a President known for bold and unexpected behavior, as well as a 24-hour news cycle driven in part by social media platforms that have amplified political worries.”
After nearly six months since the election, the anxieties are even relatively high among those who voted for Trump.
According to the survey, 43 percent of those who voted for Trump for president reported being anxious due to the November election results. Forty-two percent of Trump voters were in agreement that President Trump is the cause for more people having anxiety. At the same time, 41 percent admitted to attempting to find coping mechanisms to deal with the negative political environment and 36 percent have begun avoiding social media to reduce anxiety regarding political comments.
The presidency of Donald Trump is just under a week away for its first milestone of 100 days. Besides contributing to the anxiety of the nation, President Trump’s approval ratings having been recording a at record lows. In fact, Gallup just reported that the president has recorded the lowest average approval rating of any president (by 14 percentage points) since the poll began tracking the ratings in 1953.
But, election results anxiety or not, as ABC News reported, a poll revealed that 96 percent of those who supported Donald Trump for president would vote for him again.
[Featured Image by Andrew Harnik/AP Images]