“Last year, a study came out showing that left-leaning adolescents were experiencing a greater increase in depression than their more conservative peers. Indeed, while girls are more likely to be depressed than boys, the study, by a group of epidemiologists at Columbia, showed that liberal boys had higher rates of depression than conservative girls.
Because I wrote quite a bit about the dire psychological fallout of Donald Trump’s abusive presidency, I was immediately interested in the study, titled “The Politics of Depression.” It’s long been known that liberals tend to be more depressed than conservatives, which you can interpret as either a cause or an effect of their unhappiness with the status quo. But innate factors couldn’t explain why, among the 12th graders the study examined, the gap in depressive symptoms between liberals and conservatives appeared to be growing. Nor could those factors explain why, after several years in which liberal girls and liberal boys endured roughly equal rates of depression, girls who identified as liberal had started having a much harder time.”
David Lindsay: Excellent essay, thank you Michelle Goldberg. Here is a comment I admired:
This is a solid analysis, although I wish Goldberg had followed through a bit more on the asymmetry between conservative- and liberal-leaning teens. My theory? One the defining features of progressivism is its relentless deconstruction of everything (else) in society. I’m summarizing, but the basic narrative is that anything that offers structures, roles, or rules to youth–capitalism, religion, traditional gender roles, correctly answering math problems, etc.–is a really just a manifestation of white male privilege. No, this narrative isn’t often taught to schoolchildren directly. But the view reigns supreme among the cultural elite, and it trickles down to kids in schools, media, or at home. Youth who are tuned into left-leaning thinking for whatever reason are, almost by definition, more immersed in it. Youth, especially, need structures, roles, and rules. These days, conservative-leaning kids are more likely to be able to start defining themselves with the help of these frameworks, and it makes sense they are happier for it. Anyway, just my theory. Meanwhile, this is what the educational front in the culture wars is all about, and it applies to our society generally: Can we allow youth to have a few years to form their identities with the help of traditional social frameworks? Or must we deconstruct them from day 1 of kindergarten and start every child off in life with a blank moral slate? I think we’re seeing how the latter is working out…