MPs more stressed say psychologists

Psychological researchers say MPs have suffered from more stress
Psychological researchers say MPs have suffered from more stress

By Marina Kim

Being in the public eye is stressful for MPs, and has got worse since the expenses scandal say psychologists.

Researchers will present papers to the British Psychological Society's conference today to say those MPs who were generally pessimistic about life found their job harder.

Difficult decision making is also a widespread cause of stress.

"Organisations - including our Parliament and all the political parties - need to work harder to give the right information and support to staff, both before and after problems arise," said Dr. Weinberg of the University of Salford, who wrote the paper.

"This is a sample size, but it does confirm that major events at work can have a negative impact on how well we perform. Having a positive outlook on life can help people cope." said Dr. Weinberg.

Other research presented at the conference today found that position of a candidate's name on a ballot paper can influence people's voting.

"I wanted to explore if position on the ballot paper makes a difference to how people vote irrespective of political affiliation," said Dr Andy Johnson of Coventry University.

In his study 720 students took part in a mock election. They were asked to vote for one candidate out of six. Each candidate was represented by a meaningless three-letter code.

The voters avoided candidates at the top and bottom of the paper. Candidates that scored best were midway down the list. Dr Johnson says that his findings are preliminary.

"I'm doing further research using names of real political parties and hope to present some of these findings at the conference." said Dr Johnson.


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