Liberal vs. Conservative mental health study - what do you make of it?

by Brock Talon 36 Replies latest social current

  • truth_b_known

    Mental illness is a broad, generic term. What are the people in the study diagnosed with? The last link is the only one that mentions anxiety and depression. It claims that persons who prescribe to liberal ideology believe in equality and exhaust themselves with keeping score.

  • pistolpete
  • Brock Talon
    Brock Talon

    It is amusing to me that this thread (as well as others I have read about commenting on this study on other sites) have people who question the veracity of the study, or they try to downplay it, or muddle the issue to deflect the import of what the study is actually saying.

    Let me comment on some of these:

    "Mental health is a broad term."

    Sure it is. However, that broad term applies to every demographic equally. Whatever "mental health issue" means to each respondent, they all were asked the same exact question. It doesn't matter what that mental health problem/issue is, those who are self-described as liberal have more of them. Period.

    "The conservatives probably don't admit it."

    So liberals are more honest than conservatives? You mean the same liberals who wanted to destroy Brett Cananaugh for allegedly groping a girl while in high school 40 years ago with zero corroboration from her friends and family, but ignore and excuse Joe Biden for allegedly raping a woman while a sitting Senator with multiple corroborations from her mother (on Larry King!) and her friends? You mean those same liberals who spent millions and years trying to pin Russian collusion on Donald Trump with zero evidence in the end, but ignore an actual video of Joe Biden bragging about leveraging one billion in U.S. aid to Ukraine to have their top prosecutor ousted who just happened to be investigating his son, Hunter Biden, for corruption? You mean THAT kind of honesty?

    "It could be that liberals just seek mental health help more than conservatives."

    It could be. But the sick usually seek out help. That is why older people seek medical help more than younger people, because they are sick more. If liberals do seek out mental health help more often than conservatives it also may equally be because they need it.

    "Creative, artistic people are more prone to being emotionally unstable."

    Wow. So now ALL liberals are creative Kanye West types? And all Kanye West types are liberal? Oops, wait, Kanye is PRO Donald Trump, so that doesn't work. Even people like Caitlyn Jenner are conservative, so no, that doesn't work either. It is funny to see someone equate liberalism with being artistic and creative. I guess conservatives are not capable of being artistic or creative, you have to be liberal to have those skills? Who writes and sings all the country western music?

    "The new generation seeks therapy more than older generations do."

    This one amused me the most. They obviously did not even look at the chart or read the reports on the study because it crossed all age boundaries. Sure, the younger people in the study had the most self-reported mental health problems, but older people reported as well. That is why the study separated them into age groups. Even if older people do seek out therapy less, the proportions still say that liberals suffer more than conservatives in that same group.


    The one thing this report does not talk about is other races. I only saw "whites" in this study. How do the other races compare, not just liberal vs. conservative, but black vs. white, etc. in the same demographic. I would really be interested in those figures.

  • truth_b_known
    ...people who question the veracity of the study, or they try to downplay it, or muddle the issue to deflect the import of what the study is actually saying.

    I always question the veracity of any study. As a student of psychology, I especially take interest. The links provided by the OP left me with more questions than answers. I did some digging and found another article on the study that provides more information.

    Brock Talon - The question you ask is answered in the article I provided. It is white persons who prescribe to "extreme liberalism" as political ideology that have found to suffer from mental illness at a higher rate. As Simon commented, that sounds more like Leftist ideology. Liberalism and Leftism tend to be interchanged as terms presently. They are not.

    In reading the OP links I had a hypothesis that 1) the mental illness diagnosis would be neuroticism and 2) that the link between religious ideology and the lower percentage of reported cases of mental illness with persons with conservative political ideology would be mentioned. Sure enough, the study showed that.

    Frederick Nietzsche correctly predicted by in the 1880s that rationalism would "kill" god and lead to one of two pathologies for effected persons - nihilism or utopianism through totalitarian government. Renowned psychologist/psychoanalyst Dr. Viktor Frankl calls these neuroticisms as the "existential vacuum." Neuroticism is a low level mental illness that is curable and does not require medication.

  • Brock Talon
    Brock Talon


    Your input is interesting, as is the article you listed. Yours was the kind of feedback I was hoping for. And I do agree that Leftism and Liberalism are not exactly the same thing.

    That said, I am of the opinion that Liberalism is currently being swallowed up by Leftism. I am not sure there are many middle-of-the-road liberals around any longer because if they do not espouse the extreme Leftist ideology that is being shoved down everyone's throat today, they will be "cancelled" and shouted down along with any true moderates not to mention conservatives.

    For example, being Liberal in the U.S. used to mean that although the U.S. has faults and needs to be reformed, it is still the greatest nation on Earth. I don't see that espoused much any more. It is now more "The U.S. was formed out of racism and misogyny and should be torn down completely." Notice the Left says "Defund the Police" not "Reform the Police"... and I don't hear of many Liberals arguing against that nowadays for fear they fall into the conservative camp and be shunned by their peers.

    For example, being Liberal used to mean that Capitalism is a valuable system that must be tweaked to benefit the whole more fairly - it can be reformed. Leftism says Capitalism cannot be reformed at all and we must take on a Socialist approach to everything. Looking at what the Joe Biden administration is doing right now shows that the Leftist ideology has taken over, without any real thought on the consequences. They are still paying people to sit on their couches rather than work at the all too many jobs that are available out there that employers cannot even begin to fill because they are fighting against our socialist-bent government. To what end? Why are we spending printed money for all of this? Leftism, that is why. Liberals would have made sure everyone works and tried to get a more "fair" wage. Heck, even Bill Clinton reformed the Welfare system because he understood it was better to give people a chance to work for their money on their own rather than suckling at the teat of the government their whole lives. Alas, there are no more Bill Clintons any longer. Just Leftists. Extreme ones like Bernie and AOC and forced ones like Biden and Pelosi.


    I also think the article you listed had suppositions that I don't think I totally agree with. For one, it tied being conservative with being religious way too much. Heck, it's hypothesis weighs almost entirely on that premise. But then how do you explain our own board's Simon? He is definitely no longer religious, but his political ideology would be put squarely in the conservative category on most things. Caitlyn Jenner and many thousands like her are other examples. That is way too simple for me. I believe conflating religiousness with conservatism is much more egregious than conflating Liberalism with Leftism.

    The one conclusion jump you also make that I simply don't agree with is that the Pew study's "mental health condition" is only neuroticism. How would you know that? Certainly neurosis could be one of those "mental health conditions" but the question posed was "has a doctor or other healthcare provider told you that you had a mental health condition" which as pointed out by another poster is a very broad question. You are narrowing it down way too much. And, even so, it does say that Liberals are AT LEAST neurotic - not exactly a good calling card. "Hey mom, I met a new girl I want to introduce you to. Yes, she has mental health problems, but don't worry, she's only neurotic."

    The other thing that comes into question is simply a person's emotional makeup to begin with, before they ever even take on what we would call a political ideology. What I mean by that is this: Does Liberalism lead to mental health conditions or does having a mental health condition lead to being Liberal? Chicken or egg?

    Either way, I would rather be in the percentage group without all that.

  • truth_b_known

    Brock Talon - I do believe you are on the right track. It is definitely a thought provoking topic.

  • Simon

    The left used to be just nuts. That was OK. But now they are forcing the rest of society to go along with their insanity and make it the new normal.

    Sorry, no, never going to happen and I'm never going to comply.

  • Rocketman123

    Cognitive irrational thinking can come from any political background.

    Left or right

  • Etude

    A few years ago a study funded by the Pew Research center asked: "Why Are Conservatives Happier Than Liberals?" The question was based on polls conducted and directed at individuals who identified themselves as either Conservatives or Liberals. The study that led to the findings was conducted by Jaime L. Napier and John T. Jost. The conclusion or reason why they asserted this is -- Rationalization of Inequalities. The term implies a justification system based on meritocracy.

    In other words, conservatives have uncomplicated and non-stressful ways of explaining away social and economic inequalities because they believe the "haves" achieved what they have based on hard work, talent or personal achievement, while the "have nots" simply didn't work hard enough. In that belief system, there is full justification for keeping and perpetuating a status quo as well as the ideal that if you work hard enough (no matter what) you can achieve whatever you want to be without outside help.

    The contrasting ideas between rationalization based on meritocracy and the way of worrying about social inequalities present differing cognitive styles that may explain the increased relative happiness of conservative individuals and be a cause for the unhappiness of others who are considered liberal. So, while defining a conservative cognitive style as one that is uncomplicated and unambiguous and a liberal cognitive style as one that tends to speculate more and prolong the implications of social and economic issues, the latter seems to cause more stress to the bearer while trying to resolve social inequalities. The study concludes that "inequality takes a greater psychological toll on liberals than on conservatives, apparently because liberals lack ideological rationalizations that would help them frame inequality in a positive (or at least neutral) light."

    So this can indeed present fertile ground for the people who worry about social inequalities and are frustrated at the insensitivity of some conservatives.

  • Nikolaus

    I think liberals are more open for seeking help. Many conservatives are sure they are doing great and just do not need this. Now and then, some start shooting people and then they are forced to get examined.

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