It is quite well documented that conservatives tend to have better health, but the reason is ignored. Some suggest that it is because conservatives tend to have higher incomes and, therefore, have access to better medical care. Others suggest that it is because conservatives participate in more religious activities, which helps them build healthy social relationships.
However, a recent study offers a new hypothesis: conservatives value personal responsibility more and, therefore, also take better care of themselves.
The researchers, who have published their findings in the journal Personality and Individual DifferencesThey defined personal responsibility as "the degree to which individuals see themselves as responsible for their own behaviors." They do not suggest that personal responsibility is the only explanation of health differences between conservatives, but it can play an important role.
Causality, in social sciences, is diffuse, so naturally, we have a correlation. In addition, the study has its extra limitations: its sample size is reduced.
And it is that in the study, the researchers asked 194 people to inform themselves about their political ideology, their general physical health and their emphasis on personal responsibility, measured by how strongly they agreed with statements such as "I pay my bills immediately "and" I wear my seat belt when I get in the car. "
The results showed that conservatives tended to put greater emphasis on personal responsibility, which was positively correlated with better physical health. A second study tested whether conservatives were more likely to take advantage of the opportunity to perform physical activity. The researchers had the participants complete some surveys and then asked each individual to bring a piece of paper from one experimenter to another on the other floor of the building.
An elevator was located right next to the laboratory, but there was also a staircase around the corner. To induce the participants to climb the stairs, the experimenter informed them that the elevator was taking too long.
Conservatives were more likely to climb the stairs, which suggests, according to researchers, that they are more likely to perform physical activities.