Trump’s rhetoric linked to high stress among Latina mothers, study finds

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A new study suggests that former President Donald Trump’s political rhetoric may be linked to high levels of stress and anxiety among Latina mothers in the United States

For Hispanics, a group described as “historically disadvantaged on many fronts,” the study data “indicates that in a more hostile political landscape, their well-being is even more at risk,” said researcher Amy. No in a Monday press release. No, an associate professor in the department of anthropology at UC San Diego, co-authored the study with Elizabeth Clausing, assistant professor at the University of Nebraska, and Kimberly D’Anna Hernandez, professor of psychology at the University Marquette.

The study cites data from before the 2016 Republican National Convention, during which Trump officially became the GOP presidential nominee that year. The release of the study’s findings comes amid frequent hints from Trump that he might run for office in 2024.

“Findings show an increase in depression, anxiety, and perceived stress in a border town and a reduction in coping resources in a border and interior U.S. town,” the press release reads. UC San Diego.

The data collected “did not occur in a vacuum,” the statement said. “The increased stress felt by Latina mothers, as well as reduced coping resources, was likely related to Donald Trump’s rhetoric as a candidate and as president.”

Above, then-Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump waves to the crowd at the end of the Republican National Convention on July 21, 2016, at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. A new study from UC San Diego researchers explores links between Trump’s rhetoric and elevated stress levels among Latina mothers after the 2016 RNC.
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

In recent years, the researchers said they collected data from two groups of Latina mothers: one in Nashville, Tennessee, and the other in San Diego, California. San Diego has a large population of Hispanic residents in part because of its location near the US-Mexico border, and its Border Patrol Sector is among the busiest in the country, the researchers noted.

Additionally, “California Latinos are also unique in that they show a higher level of political knowledge than other states, which may make these participants more aware of harmful political rhetoric and new policies directed against anti-social groups. ‘immigrants,’ the study says, though the researchers said Newsweek political awareness was not among the variables measured for the study.

Although Nashville is not a border town, researchers said Tennessee has a growing Hispanic population that was estimated to be around 10.5% of the state’s total population in 2019.

The study indicated that rates of depression and anxiety were already higher among new Latina mothers compared to rates of depression and anxiety among other women in the United States. The researchers wrote in the study that they initially hypothesized there would be an increase in discrimination and immigration-related stress, as well as overall declines in mental health, among participants. under consideration following sociopolitical changes following Trump’s 2016 nomination.

“The stressors we measured were influenced by the changing and increasingly hostile political climate toward Latinas following the nomination and election of Donald Trump,” Non said in the statement. The researchers assessed coping and perceived stress variables, No said, finding that decreased coping skills associated with increased perceived stressors “resulted in higher levels of maternal psychological distress” among the study participants.

The 83 participants in the San Diego study were first interviewed between February 2013 and July 2016 and then again between December 2016 and May 2019. The group of 39 participants from Nashville were interviewed between June 2015 and June 2016 , and between March 2018 and September 2018.

In both cities, the study found “a similar decline in protective factors over time,” which the researchers said included variables such as optimism and social support. These overall declines were different from city to city, according to the study.

“For example, in the border town we found an increase in acculturative stress and discrimination, while in the inner town there was no change in immigrant-related stress, but a slight decrease in reported discrimination,” the study said.

Researchers also found “high levels of anxiety, depression, and perceived stress” among Latina mothers in San Diego and Nashville, with participants in San Diego showing progressive worsening of these feelings.

A discussion section for the published study returned to the researchers’ original hypothesis about potential links between their data and Trump’s rhetoric.

“As assumed, our data supports increased levels of sociocultural stressors since President Trump’s political emergence,” the study says, though it notes that the two cities have not experienced exactly the same changes. Anxiety and perceived stressors increased in the San Diego group, while there was “a significant increase in fatigue” among the Nashville participants.

The study noted that the increase in perceived stress variables may be the result of “increased awareness of discrimination and acculturative stress over time experienced in the United States” rather than a direct result. “of a ‘Trump effect,'” but said most attendees of the San Diego group were “long-term U.S. residents.”

“We believe that the cities’ demographic and historical differences influenced some of the divergent findings between the two cities, such as higher reported discrimination over time in San Diego and reduced discrimination in Nashville,” Non said. Newsweek.

As an example, Non said reported discrimination may be less common in Nashville due to the city’s concentrated ethnic neighborhoods, which can be a form of protection for residents. “In contrast, San Diego has a longer history of integrating immigrants into the community, and so women may have been more surprised – and perhaps more aware – of the rise in discrimination after the election of Trump,” she said.

The researchers also found “a dramatic increase in hate crimes in California in the year following the [2016] election, in a state that has traditionally been more welcoming than Tennessee,” Non said. “But an important caveat is that we used different metrics to capture similar concepts in each site, so they can’t be directly compared,” she added.

Looking ahead, Non said the growing Hispanic community in the United States could have “contrasting effects on future levels of anxiety and stress,” with high levels of community support just as possible as increased opportunities for “resentment” in non-Hispanic communities.

“Nashville has traditionally been known as a liberal city within a conservative state, so it’s difficult to predict how the particular culture of this city and surrounding neighborhoods will respond to the growing number of Latinx residents,” said No. .

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