Research Uncovers An Interesting Relationship Between Health And Voting Behavior

As the US 2020 election draws closer, we are discussing the dynamic bidirectional relationship between health and voting.

The right to vote is a pillar of a democratic society.

Given this many people do not vote for a wide variety of reasons. 40 percent of adults in the U.S. who were registered to vote did not vote in the 2016 election, according to the Pew Research Center.

Not all parts of society are expected to vote fairly. White people, for example , are more likely to vote than Black people, who are more likely to vote than Latins and Asians. People with lower household incomes are less likely to vote than people with higher incomes, while younger people are less likely to vote than seniors.

We also added some helpful links at the bottom of this article if you would like to check your registration status or register to vote.

While there are many reasons people don’t cast their vote, we’ll concentrate on the relationship between health and voting in this article.

Healthcare is, of course, a concern for many in the U.S., and can help direct the voting decisions of many people. As a February 2020 poll by Kaiser Family Foundation found:

“Less than eight months before the presidential general election in 2020, healthcare (26 per cent) and the economy (23 per cent) are the top topics registered voters believe will be most relevant in deciding on their presidential vote.”

The influence of a popular vote will, in no small way, have significant consequences for a nation’s healthcare. An individual’s health can affect whether or not they vote, according to a wealth of study.

This Article emphasizes:

A July 2020 study, which appears in the journal Public Health Studies, looks at the relationship between health and voting at length.

The authors are reviewing earlier research to understand the effect of poor health on voting opportunities for a person. They also wonder if people with chronic health problems can improve voter turnout.

The authors listed 17 important studies, in search of correlations between voting and health. Overall, they found that “[the]lower voting rates are generally related to bad self-rated health.” It showed that people who reported worse health were less likely to vote than those who reported good health.

Also the authors of the Irish study found that people who were less pleased with the health service were less likely to vote, paradoxically. However, the study found that people with bad health who were also unhappy with the health service were more likely to vote in order to show the importance of those matters. A research in Britain found, contrary to this but in general agreement, that “individuals with poor general and mental wellbeing and [smoking people] are less likely to vote at election time.”

Meanwhile, the authors of a Norwegian study echo the results of others, stating that voter turnout in local elections “is positively related to self-assessed health.”

“People who engaged in voting and voluntary social activities appeared to show better subjective health than those who did not vote or engage in social activities, after adjusting for socio-demographic factors at the individual level.” In this study , the team also found that the association between health and voting was more pronounced in older adults.

They found that males aged 65 or older who lived in regions with lower turnout to vote had an increased risk of death from all causes.

It is worth reiterating that the connection does not imply causation, but between health and voting there are obviously strong lines running.

The authors also delve into the effects of particular health problems in the journal Public Health Studies. Overall, they summarize that “[p]people with physical , intellectual, and psychological disabilities have lower voting rates.” Healthcare experts are increasingly concerned about COVID-19’s global mental health effect , making this issue especially important for the upcoming election. The author found that depression was correlated with lower voter turnout.

elections health

On the topic of physical illness, one 2017 study explored the effect of influenza outbreaks on voting activity in Finland and the United States. The authors assume, using statistical models, that influenza outbreaks were correlated with lower voting rates in both countries. The authors conclude after adapting their analyzes to a variety of variables, including sociodemographic characteristics:

‘[I]ndividuals diagnosed with cancer are more likely to vote, while those diagnosed with heart disease are less likely to vote.’ A study by researchers in Finland, published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, found that people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and people with cancer were more likely to vote than people with mental health problems, alcohol, etc.

The team also found that “[having more than one condition at a given time further reduced the likelihood of voting.”

Some experts suggest that strong networks of support within the cancer community may help promote voting behaviour. As the writers of the article in Public Health Reviews note, “People with breast cancer , for example, form more than 40 times more support groups than people with heart disease.” Researchers found that voter turnout in people with disabilities was 20 percent lower than in people without disability.

For those with disabilities, voting rates were lowest for unemployed people , people aged 65 or older, people who have recently witnessed the onset of a disabled illness, and individuals who have trouble going out alone. As the authors of the study that investigated 30 European countries write, “poor health can weaken the social network of a person, which, in turn, deprives voter turnout.”

Individuals embedded in a social network may be debating the referendum, improving voting trends. And, as we discussed in this article earlier, the symptoms of certain mental health disorders can include apathy and hopelessness, all of which can minimize participation motivation.

Speaking explicitly regarding depression, one author describes how people with this disorder can convey lower levels of internal efficacy, leading to thoughts like “I’m powerless to make a difference,” and external efficacy, leading to thoughts like “the government doesn’t care what I believe.”

Although the correlations are obvious, more studies will be required by scientists to explore the complex ties between social capital, health, and voting.

The authors of the article in Public Health Studies describe how a detrimental cycle can be caused by health effects on voting. People with chronic health problems are more likely to favor a group proposing more substantive changes to health care.

Those individuals are less likely to vote, however, as we have discovered. The authors state:

“Ill health results in lower voting rates, leading to policies that do not address inequality, contributing to worsening health inequities.”

A literature review dealing with this topic calls for “nurses, their employers, and politicians [to] ensure that patients can exercise their voting rights.”

Some studies have centered on how governments should change the electoral process to improve voter turnout among people with poor health. One study showed that proxy voting in particular had increased these people’s participation. The authors say that providing this service in hospitals may be a way of reducing the effect of ill health on turnout of voters. Of those, 128 patients were entitled but not registered to vote. A total of 114 (89 percent) signed up to vote via this initiative. In conclusion the writers conclude:

“Clinics are not only health facilities but also important platforms for giving a voice to communities that are civically disenfranchised.”

In these uncertain times, with mental wellbeing at the forefront of people’s minds, it’s worth reaching out to our networks to encourage the benefits of voting.

Source: www.medicalnewstoday.com