Psychology Today has an article titled “The Unexpected Relationship Between Ideology and Anxiety.” It’s online and available at : https://www.psychologytoday.com/
Makes me feel like Max Weber, who was frequently accused of arguing with the ghost of Karl Marx. My friend, the Reverend Doctor Dave Olson fought his battle with esophageal cancer to a tie, and I can’t forward the link, with a smiley face, to him. Dave loved studies that pointed out how folks on the political left were brighter and more mentally stable than those on the right – and this one, which shows the opposite, would have really got him into analyzing the methodology. We really need studies that don’t confirm our confirmation bias.
The synopsis is brief: “People with left-wing economic views are more prone to more anxiety disorders.” The article starts with “A long-running theory in social psychology, “motivated social cognition,” holds that conservative political beliefs are motivated by sensitivity to threat. For example, it has been claimed that high levels of death anxiety, system threat, and perceptions of a dangerous world each contribute to conservatism specifically, whereas people who are low in these attributes tend to have more liberal views (Jost et al., 2007).” I recall Dave sharing the Jost article with me. He loved it.
This article is a bit different. It lists the key points as:
- Claims that conservatives are higher in threat sensitivity are challenged by findings from a large long-term survey in Britain.
- People with left-wing economic political views had higher rates of anxiety disorder symptoms.
- People with liberal economic views tend to be higher in neuroticism and lower in conscientiousness than their conservative counterparts.
- The relationship between threat sensitivity and political ideology may be more complex than previously thought.
I’d suggest reading the whole article, and looking at the methodology – whether it agrees with your confirmation bias or disagrees, it’s a decent read. And I wish I could share it with Dave and listen to him cut the methodology apart.