Three incidents struck me this week. On Tuesday I thought, "My students are always telling me about all the psychotropic medications they are on. Sociology majors are a screwed up bunch." Then today, a student who over the past few weeks confessed a long list of mental health problems claimed that today's Republicans are mentally ill. Another student followed her by saying you can find a "Republican Disorder" in the DSM-V. Finally, I watched a video clip of protesters at Trump's canceled rally in Chicago today, and it occurred to me that lefties like my students often look like they have psychological issues, or at least use drugs. Maybe it's just my undergraduate education from 20 years ago. I was taught that a dirty and disheveled look is a predictor of mental deterioration.
So, as usual, I turn to the General Social Survey. Participants were asked how many days in the past month were poor mental health days for them. Here are the percentages that reported at least one bad day by political orientation:
Percent with at least one day of bad mental health in past month
Extremely liberal 52.4
Slightly liberal 47.6
Slightly conservative 43.7
Extremely conservative 30.4
Craziness increases with degree of liberalism. If we look at mean days instead, extreme liberals average 5.88 days per month. For extreme conservatives, it's only 2.44--less than half the liberal number.