Scattergood Foundation

Advancing Innovative Strategies for Change in Behavioral Health

Grant Activity: Current Activity Impacting Communities

Commentary: Is President Trump Causing Toxic Stress?

Dominic Sisti & Cynthia Baum-Baicker
“The presidency is supposed to age the president, not the public.” And with that Jon Stewart, former host of the Daily Show and comic genius, touched on an overlooked but very serious public health question. 
Is Donald Trump, with his daily Twitter harangues, impulsive and outrageous executive orders, and all around nastiness harming the health of individuals?
Have people become more anxious, edgy, angry, and generally negative because of him?   And, if so, at what point should we be concerned from a public health perspective?
Of course, no studies have yet to be conducted on the public health ramifications of Trump’s behavior. Indeed, it would be difficult to isolate and study the broader, population effects of the President’s actions and control for other confounding variables such as actual policy changes. But it seems intuitively accurate to think that some subpopulation of the vast number of voters who were left horrified on November 9 might now be experiencing a form of toxic stress. This stress is perpetually aggravated by the belligerent, unpredictable, and sometimes bizarre behavior of the President himself.
Read the full commentary here