How parents’ political views affect kids’ mental health

How parents’ political views affect kids’ mental health

American teenagers, especially girls, are facing significant challenges, with nearly 60 percent of teen girls experiencing persistent sadness or hopelessness, according to a recent CDC report.

The report also revealed that in 2021, 30 percent of teen girls considered suicide, which is up by nearly 60 percent from a decade ago. While social media is often blamed for this trend, it cannot be held entirely responsible.

Parents’ attitudes and ideologies can profoundly impact their children’s mental wellbeing, including political beliefs.

A recent study by Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, Department of Epidemiology, focused on the intersections of gender and politics. The study revealed that liberal teens are much more likely to be unhappy than those with more conservative views.

The study found that female adolescents are more likely to be liberal than male adolescents, and liberal girls are the most prone to depression. Between 2010 and 2018, symptoms of depression rose by more than 50% for “female liberals.” Although the root cause of these teen troubles is not yet pinpointed, variations in worldview may be a culprit.

Progressives today are more likely to see the U.S. as an inherently racist, unjust place, making it harder to feel positive about the world if you fundamentally believe it sucks. While social media plays a role, teens adhere to the political beliefs of their parents, particularly mothers. Research suggests that people with conservative political attitudes tend to have better health than their liberal counterparts, largely because “the former place greater value on personal responsibility.”

A recent Pew survey showed a clear correlation between progressive beliefs and compromised mental wellness, particularly among caucasians. Over 60% of white respondents who described themselves as “liberal” or “very liberal” have been told they suffer from mental health conditions, more than twice the level of conservatives and three times the levels of moderates.

A study by academics affiliated with Harvard and Cornells also revealed that Democrats are more likely than conservatives to be mentally unwell.

Parents with mental health issues, particularly mothers, are more likely to have children with higher levels of mental health issues, according to a report by the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR).

The report also revealed that in the U.S., liberal women are the most likely to be dealing with mental health issues. There’s also evidence that helicopter parents are creating neurotic children, as neuroticism is a trait that can be inherited.

Depression is one of the most severe mental health problems plaguing American teens, with rates of depression rising long before the pandemic.

There are both genetic and environmental components to depression, and teens seem to be most impacted by this intersection of nature-vs-nurture. Allowing young people of all political persuasions to affirm their ideologies is a necessary right of passage and a path to keeping them mentally fit and stable.

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