The 2016 US election led to a decline in mental health among Muslim college students

Muslim college students in particular experienced negative implications on their mental health as a result of discriminatory rhetoric during the 2016 US election, new research in JAMA Pediatrics suggests.

The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Michigan, involved survey data from adult students enrolled in 90 different academic institutions. All of the participants took part in the Healthy Minds Study a little over a year before and after the general election.

According to their assessment of the survey data, the Michigan-based research group determined that Muslim students with clinically significant mental health problems exhibited a 7 percent increase in worsening symptoms as a result of the last election cycle.

The data shows that 22 percent of Muslim students were diagnosed with a common psychiatric condition like depression, anxiety, or an eating disorder before the election, but symptoms worsened by up to 34 percent after the election ended, primarily due to impregnable discrimination in 2016.

“Our results suggest that the election of a politician who uses racist rhetoric and advances exclusionary policies may harm the mental health of young people in the targeted group,” said Sara Renee Abelson, co-author of the study, in a news release.

“Schools and other communities need to consider these concerns in their efforts to support young adults, and researchers should improve understanding of causal mechanisms and potential prevention and intervention strategies,” Abelson concluded in the release.

Image courtesy of Ralph Peters
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