Study finds 'woke' people more likely to be unhappy, anxious, and depressed

Research Reveals Correlation Between ‘Woke’ Ideology and Increased Levels of Unhappiness, Anxiety, and Depression

A recent study has unveiled that individuals who align with “woke” ideologies often experience higher levels of unhappiness, anxiety, and depression than their counterparts. This intriguing research was shared in the Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, highlighting a notable difference in life satisfaction among those who advocate for critical social justice.

The investigation involved a thorough examination of 848 adults, including staff and students from the University of Turku in southwestern Finland, participants from other Finnish universities, a few from abroad, and some not affiliated with any university. An additional study extended its reach to 5,030 Finnish citizens aged between 15 and 84 years.

Researchers developed a “critical social justice attitude scale” to gauge participants’ agreement with seven progressive ideologies. These ranged from beliefs about income inequality due to racism, to the inclusion of diverse authors in university reading lists, and opinions on microaggressions and trans* women in sports.

Oskari Lahtinen, a senior researcher at the INVEST Research Flagship Centre at the University of Turku, expressed surprise at the gender divide revealed by the study. The findings showed that women were significantly more likely to view “woke” ideas positively compared to men, especially in Finland.

The study also noted a stark contrast in the acceptance of these ideologies between different genders and fields of study. Women, along with voters of the Left Alliance and Green Party, and female social science students, showed the most agreement with the scale’s propositions. In contrast, men, particularly those studying medicine and humanities, along with the general Finnish voter population, showed little support.

Furthermore, individuals in STEM fields and those with conservative viewpoints were less likely to agree with progressive beliefs. This disparity in ideological acceptance also correlated with overall happiness levels, with those endorsing woke ideologies reporting significantly higher rates of unhappiness, anxiety, and depression.

Lahtinen highlighted the emergence of critical social justice discourse in American universities in the 2010s, noting its spread to other Western countries, including Finland. The study aimed to provide data on the prevalence of these attitudes, given the lack of prior research in this area.

With a robust sample size and sound psychometric properties, the study offers a comprehensive look at the impact of woke ideologies on well-being. However, Lahtinen suggests further validation in North American samples to understand how these attitudes manifest in their origin country. This research opens the door for more studies on the prevalence and effects of woke ideologies across different cultures and societies.