Home » Study Reveals ‘Woke’ Beliefs Linked to Higher Unhappiness Among Advocates

Study Reveals ‘Woke’ Beliefs Linked to Higher Unhappiness Among Advocates

by Richard A Reagan

In a study published in the Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, researchers have unearthed a correlation between ‘woke’ ideologies and increased levels of unhappiness, anxiety, and depression.

This revelation comes from a comprehensive investigation conducted by the INVEST Research Flagship Centre at the University of Turku.

The study, meticulously led by Oskari Lahtinen, a senior researcher at the University of Turku, embarked on an ambitious journey to quantify the prevalence of ‘woke’ attitudes within the Finnish population.

The term ‘woke,’ originally from the United States, symbolizes a heightened awareness of social injustices and has been a subject of heated debate across Western societies.

“This debate was largely data-free and it could thus be considered a worthwhile question to study how prevalent these attitudes are,” Lahtinen remarked, highlighting the lack of empirical data surrounding this contentious topic.

Lahtinen and his team developed a new psychological tool, the Critical Social Justice Attitude Scale, to accurately measure an individual’s endorsement of ‘woke’ beliefs. Through rigorous research, including a deep dive into intersectional feminism, critical race theory, queer theory, among other disciplines, the team was able to identify seven core beliefs central to ‘woke’ ideology. 

  • “If white people have on average a higher level of income than black people, it is because of racism.”
  • “University reading lists should include fewer white or European authors.”
  • “Microaggressions should be challenged often and actively.”
  • “Trans* women who compete with women in sports are not helping women’s rights.” (reverse scored)
  • “We don’t need to talk more about the color of people’s skin.”
  • “A white person cannot understand how a black person feels equally well as another black person.”
  • “A member of a privileged group can adopt features or cultural elements of a less privileged group.” (reverse scored)

The study’s findings were stark, revealing a significant gender divide in the acceptance of ‘woke’ ideas, with three out of five women viewing them positively compared to only one out of seven men.

This divide was particularly pronounced among individuals working in social sciences, education, and humanities, as opposed to those in STEM fields who were more critical of social justice efforts.

More concerning, however, was the discovery of a high prevalence of mental health issues among individuals who strongly align with ‘woke’ principles.

“Researchers found a high prevalence of anxiety and depression in people who believe the statement ‘If white people have on average a higher income than black people, it is because of racism,'” the study reports, pointing to a broader trend of decreased mental well-being among those on the political left.

Lahtinen cautions against immediate international generalization of these findings, urging for further validation of the scale in North American contexts to understand the manifestation of these attitudes. “However, the scale would need to be validated in North American samples in order to know how these attitudes manifest there,” he advises, encouraging further research in the United States.

This study poses critical questions about the impact of such beliefs on individual well-being and societal cohesion. 

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