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Political Research Exchange - PRX

Why People with Depression Feel Closest to Left Parties but Do Not Necessarily Support Them. Political Attitudes in Major Depressive Disorders

Political Parties
Political Psychology
Electoral Behaviour
Political Engagement
Political Ideology
Voting Behaviour
Luca Bernardi
Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona
Luca Bernardi
Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona

By the year 2020 depression is estimated to produce the second largest disease burden in terms of cost to society. Yet political scientists’ knowledge about the mechanisms in place to explaining the political repertoire of people with mental illness is near to null. In fact, the few studies linking political predispositions and mental illness come from other disciplines than political science. As political scientists, we still do not know if and how people with mental illness and, in particular, people who suffer from major depressive disorders, have different political perceptions, attitudes and behaviors than people who do not suffer from these pathologies. This paper sets up this research agenda and is a first attempt to understanding whether political attitudes – measured as party identification and party support – of voters with depression differ from attitudes of voters who do not suffer from this disorder and in which way. Building on the cognitive models of depression, I present a theoretical framework and test the influence of depression through using panel data from the UK Household Longitudinal Study.
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