Half of American Women Report Elevated Stress Levels Post-Election

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It’s clear that this year’s election has been unusually stressful for many people. In fact, the American Psychological Association published a study this August showing that the election was a significant source of stress for more than half of Americans (52 percent).

But now that the election is over, it turns out Americans are still coping with elevated levels of stress… and women and young people are feeling it most of all, according to our new survey.

One Medical worked with SurveyMonkey to poll over 2,000 Americans of voting age nationwide about their stress since the election, and here’s what we found:

1. The presidential election is still stressing people out.

It’s been two weeks since the election, but people are still feeling the effects of the contentious campaign. In fact, 42 percent of people say their stress level has actually increased in the days and weeks following the election.

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Younger people (18-29-year-olds) were most likely to report an increase in stress, with 50 percent of this group saying their stress levels had increased since the election.

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2. Women are much more stressed than men.

Women are feeling the post-election stress more than men: 50 percent of women report increased stress levels, versus just 34 percent of men.

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How much of an increase? We asked people to rate their overall stress level over the past month on a scale of 1-10, using the same questions posed by the APA in their 2015 Stress in America survey, to see how people’s stress compared to last year at this time. Here’s what we found:

  • On average, women rated their stress level over the past month a 6.5 – 18 percent higher than the APA’s 2015 number of 5.3
  • On average, men rated their stress level over the past month a 5.4 – 9 percent higher than the APA’s 2015 number of 4.9

There are also are some significant regional differences in stress levels – for example, a whopping 68 percent of women in New England report elevated stress since the election.

3. People are losing sleep over the election.

One of the first casualties of elevated stress levels is sleep, and post-election stress is no different. Our survey shows that half (50 percent) of people with elevated stress levels are also having more trouble than usual falling and staying asleep.

Women are having more trouble than men; 53 percent of women who report elevated stress say their sleep has been more difficult since the election, while just 46 percent of men with elevated stress levels report any sleep issues.

4. Few people are asking for professional help.

Although sustained stress and sleep issues can have a serious impact on your health, just 10 percent of people surveyed said they’d sought professional help for these issues. Men were slightly more likely than women to have sought help (9 percent of women versus 10 percent of men).

If you’re experiencing election-related stress and anxiety, know that you’re not alone… and don’t ignore it. 

Here are 7 things you can do right now to reduce your stress on your own… or you can make an appointment to talk to your primary care provider. We’re here to help.

Survey Methodology

One Medical worked with SurveyMonkey to survey approximately 2,000 people of voting age across the U.S. regarding their stress levels and sleep patterns following the election. Survey responses were fielded between November 17 – November 21, 2016. Respondents ranged in age from 18 to over 60 years old. 52 percent of respondents were women; 48 percent were men.

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The One Medical blog is published by One Medical, an innovative primary care practice with offices in Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Phoenix, the San Francisco Bay Area, Seattle, and Washington, DC.

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