- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 13, 2016

“Facing one of the most adversarial contests in recent history and daily coverage of the presidential election that dominates every form of mass media, 52 percent of American adults report that the 2016 election is a very or somewhat significant source of stress,” reports 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, associate executive director for research and policy for the organization, which bases its conclusion on a survey of over 3,500 people.

“Across party lines, those registered as Democrats (55 percent) and Republicans (59 percent) are statistically equally likely to say the election is a very or somewhat significant source of stress,” she noted.

Blame it on the media — and social media as well.

“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,” Ms. Bufka said.

Those who share political ideas on Twitter, Facebook and other sources are more prone to jitters, the survey found.

“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 — 54 percent vs. 45 percent, respectively,” the survey analysis stated.

Levels of stress are equal among men and women alike, and significantly pronounced in those either under 30 or over 55.

The association itself has some advice for those whose stress level is rising as election day approaches. The researchers advise staying our of political arguments and limiting exposure to the 24-hour news cycle, “take a digital break” and spend time with friends and family instead. Volunteering is not a bad idea either, they counsel.

“Whatever happens on Nov. 8, life will go on. Our political system and the three branches of government mean that we can expect a significant degree of stability immediately after a major transition of government. Avoid catastrophizing, and maintain a balanced perspective,” the organization noted.

“Vote. In a democracy, a citizen’s voice does matter. By voting, you will hopefully feel you are taking a proactive step and participating in what for many has been a stressful election cycle. Find balanced information to learn about all the candidates and issues on your ballot,” the group added.

• Jennifer Harper can be reached at jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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