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Psychology’s Kaniasty to Study Psychological Impact of Stressful Political Events

Krys Kaniasty of the Psychology Department received a PASSHE Faculty Professional Development Council grant for the project entitled “The impact of perceived stressfulness of commonly experienced political events on psychological well-being of Americans.”

Can stress appraisals of “garden variety” political life events impact psychological well-being? Do events such as battles over affordable health care, budget sequestration, or government shutdown affect psychological health and happiness of Americans?

The study will focus on psychological impact of the run-of-the mill political events perceived as stressful by citizens, regardless of whether or not these events were simply witnessed or experienced directly. Undergraduate student collaborators will conduct face-to-face, in-home interviews with 300 volunteers from different communities across Pennsylvania.

Three outcome variables will be assessed: satisfaction with life, sense of alienation, and positive mood. It is predicted that negative appraisals of political events will be associated with lower levels of psychological well-being.

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