The “polarized” 2016 U.S. presidential election caused stress among many college students that was similar to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
According to a new psychological study by San Francisco State University, more than 25 percent of the students showed alarming levels of stress, while the average stress score of students was comparable to that of a mass shooting witness.
Around 39 percent of students showed complete dissatisfaction with the election outcome, 15.6 percent were moderately upset and 16.8 percent said they were slightly upset.
For many, Donald Trump becoming the president of the country was like a sudden shock.
“What we were interested in seeing was, did the election for some people constitute a traumatic experience? And we found that it did for 25 percent of young adults,” said lead author Melissa Hagan, an assistant professor of psychology at San Francisco State University.
To compile the figures, the researchers surveyed 769 students from different religious, racial, ethnic, political and social class backgrounds. They were enrolled in psychology courses at Arizona State University and filled the Impact of Event Scale, a psychological assessment.
“The scale is used to gauge the extent to which individuals have been impacted by an event in such a way that it might lead to diagnosable post-traumatic stress disorder,” Hagan said.
The study noted a strong impact of election outcomes on black and non-Hispanic white students, while females scored 45 percent higher than the males.
“There was a lot of discourse around race, identity and what makes a valuable American. I think that really heightened stress for a lot of people,” Hagan added.