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Friday, November 30, 2007

More Democrats Think They are Mentally Unstable than Republicans

Ok, so the word unstable is mine, but this Gallup poll shows some very interesting findings.

In the minds of those that identify as Democrats, they are more unlikely to rate their mental health as excellent.

58% of Republicans rate their mental health as excellent, compared to only 38% of Democrats.

The differences are quite significant, as can be seen. While Democrats are slightly less likely to report excellent mental health than are independents, the big distinctions in these data are the differences between Republicans and everyone else.

One could be quick to assume that these differences are based on the underlying demographic and socioeconomic patterns related to party identification in America today. A recent Gallup report (see "Strong Relationship Between Income and Mental Health" in Related Items) reviewed these mental health data more generally, and found that men, those with higher incomes, those with higher education levels, and whites are more likely than others to report excellent mental health. Some of these patterns describe characteristics of Republicans, of course.

But an analysis of the relationship between party identification and self-reported excellent mental health within various categories of age, gender, church attendance, income, education, and other variables shows that the basic pattern persists regardless of these characteristics. In other words, party identification appears to have an independent effect on mental health even when each of these is controlled for.

I am not even going to get into the number of bad jokes that could stem from this, but I have often said that a portion, yes, reread that before hitting that comment button, a portion of the Democrats, in this country understand that they aren't in "excellent" mental health and this time it isn't me arguing that point, the Democrats themselves seem to understand it to be true also.

I actually have to give the kudos for being capable of admitting it.

Gallup also conducted a separate multivariate analysis that looked at the impact of a list of variables -- including party identification -- on self-reported mental health. This analysis showed that even when the impact of these other variables is controlled for statistically, there is an independent and highly significant impact of being a Republican on mental health.

More from Gallup:

What are the implications of these findings?

Correlation is no proof of causation, of course. The reason the relationship exists between being a Republican and more positive mental health is unknown, and one cannot say whether something about being a Republican causes a person to be more mentally healthy, or whether something about being mentally healthy causes a person to choose to become a Republican (or whether some third variable is responsible for causing both to be parallel).

I have often said, I was a Democrat until I grew up and realized that utopia doesn't exist and never will. One I faced that reality, I became a Republican.

Perhaps mental health and denial of the world we live in today have a bit to do with each other.