14/10/2016 4:26 AM AEDT | Updated 15/10/2016 2:16 AM AEDT

The 2016 Election Is Really Stressing America Out

Twitter and Facebook appear to be making it worse.

Rick Wilking/Reuters
More than half of U.S. adults say the 2016 election is either a very or somewhat significant source of stress.

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are stressing Americans out.

More than half of U.S. adults polled say the 2016 presidential race is causing them stress, according to a Harris Poll/American Psychological Association survey out Thursday. And social media may be making it even worse.

Fifty-two percent of respondents said the election is a “very significant” or “somewhat significant” source of stress. Among those who use social media, 54 percent reported being stressed by the race. But that percentage fell to 45 percent for people who don’t use social media, the survey found.

“Election stress becomes exacerbated by arguments, stories, images and video on social media that can heighten concern and frustration, particularly with thousands of comments that can range from factual to hostile or even inflammatory,” Lynn Bufka, the APA’s associate director for practice research and policy, said in a written statement.  

What’s more, it doesn’t seem to matter whether you’re a Republican or a Democrat. Nearly equal percentages of respondents from both parties reported stress tied to the elections – 59 percent of Republicans and 55 percent of Democrats.

Age, however, does appear to play a role in how stressed people are. The oldest and youngest respondents reported the most stress: Fifty-nine percent of individuals over age 70 and 56 percent of millennials said the election was stressing them out, followed by 50 percent of baby boomers and 45 percent of Generation Xers.

The study used an online panel to survey 3,511 Americans 18 and older between Aug. 5 and Aug. 31.

A majority of Americans say that they are stressed about the upcoming presidential election, but more older adults and millennials say the presidential election is a source of stress. 

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