Sunday, December 2, 2007

political philosophy and mental health

I just read this gallup poll on the drudge report. It states that republicans are more likely to report their mental health as 'excellent' than democrats (but you'll notice if you look at the poll that democrats are more likely than republicans to list their mental health as 'good').

While I was considering this information, I remembered another study I read about a year or two ago that said that liberal parents are more likely to raise self-assured adults. Does this mean liberals are more likely to raise...Republicans?

no, of course not. Of course there is a difference between being self-assured and being willing to report your mental health as 'excellent', and of course democrat is not synonymous with liberal and republican is not synomymous with conservative.

Although the researchers rightly remind us that correlation doesn't equal causation (a mantra for psych. majors),these longitudinal studies on mental health and personal philosophy are interesting.

are republicans more likely to state 'excellent' mental health because they are more likely to be capitalists, and thus more geared towards priming themselves for survival in our marketplace society? Are democrats more likely to say 'good' rather than 'excellent' because the nature of the questions (party affiliation tied so closely with mental health) likely to bring up feelings of dissatisfaction with recent political failures, and animosity towards President Bush and the war? Or maybe a person would be inclined to say democrats view the world more realistically, and think in a wider, more encompassing way than republicans, or, to the contrary, maybe someone would say the more liberal a person is, the more likely they are to be an unhappy do-gooder, immersed in their own self-indulgent nihilism, and unable to hack it in this competitive society.

Maybe it's because I've been reading Freud lately, but I wonder about the nature of the participant's relationship with their parents. Are these findings more related to authoritarian versus authoritative styles of parenting than pro-life judges versus universal healthcare?

Whatever the relationship between these studies, they are at least good for mindless speculation and pontification.

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