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The presidential election could be hurting — or helping — your health. Really

  • Groups such as immigrants and racial minorities could be at increased risk for stress, disease, premature births and premature deaths as a result of the election.
  • "Events linked to the recent presidential campaign and election have given rise to fear and anxiety in many Americans," the New England Journal of Medicine article says.
Paul J. Richards | AFP | Getty Images

If you're feeling sick about the presidential election even though it ended seven months ago, it might not all be in your head.

The outcome of the election that sent Donald Trump to the White House could be harming the health of some people, a new article in the New England Journal of Medicine suggests

In particular, groups such as immigrants and racial minorities could be at increased risk for stress, disease, premature births and premature deaths as a result of the election, according to the article.

At the same time, Trump's victory also could be boosting — albeit in the short term — the health of his supporters, the article suggests.

The piece notes "a small but growing body of evidence suggests that election campaigns can have both positive and negative effects on health."

David Williams, a co-author of the article and a professor at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, said, "Elections can matter for the health of children and adults in profound ways that are often unrecognized and unaddressed."

The article points out the "events linked to the recent presidential campaign and election have given rise to fear and anxiety in many Americans."

"Research suggests that these events can have negative health effects on people who have been direct targets of what they perceive as hostility or discrimination and on individuals and communities who feel vulnerable because they belong to a stigmatized, marginalized or targeted group."

The authors note that a University of Chicago study published in 2006 found that among Arab-American women in California on the heels of the 9/11 terror attacks there was "a pattern increased risk of low-birth-weight babies or premature births ... as compared with the preceding six-month period."

On the other hand, Trump's supporters are likely to be experiencing "increases in psychological well-being, pride and hope for the future," according to Williams and his co-author, Dr. Morgan Medlock, a psychiatrist at Massachusetts General/McLean Hospital.

Short-term beneficial health effects, the authors write, were seen in black South Africans after the 1994 election of Nelson Mandela as president, among black Americans during the 1988 presidential campaign by the Rev. Jesse Jackson and again among black Americans when Barack Obama was nominated for president in 2008.

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