Survey: 52 Percent of People Say 2016 Election Is Very Stressful

Bailiff Garrett Cole of Madison, Miss., has "I Voted" stickers ready to distribute to all who exit the voting booths Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2015.
AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis

Fifty-two percent of American adults 18 and older say that the 2016 election is a very or somewhat significant source of stress, according to a survey by the American Psychological Association.

“We’re seeing that it doesn’t matter whether you’re registered as a Democrat or Republican — U.S. adults say they are experiencing significant stress from the current election,” said Lynn Bufka, PhD, APA’s associate executive director for practice research and policy to NPR.

Fifty-five percent of Democrats and 59 percent of Republicans said the election was likely to cause a very or somewhat significant source of stress, according to the survey’s breakdown across party lines.

Bufka said that she attributes the rise in stress levels to posts on social media about the election.

“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.

Joe Nunes, head of the marketing department at the University of Southern California Marshall School of Business, says that voters show reactions to elections by their spending and investment habits.

Nunes said that the survey’s results are not definitive, because if people were really stressed out about the election, “they’d pull money out of the stock market, and stop spending on major goods.”

In response to the survey, the APA released a set of guidelines to prevent stress from this election cycle.

Some of the guidelines include limiting your media consumption, avoid getting into heated discussions about the election, volunteering in the community, maintaining a balanced perspective, and voting.


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