In a series of two studies, researchers examined the relationship between conspiracy beliefs and depression. Their findings indicate that depression is positively associated with conspiracy beliefs. Additionally, a combination of severe depression and conspiratorial beliefs was found to be strongly associated with support for political violence. Based on their results, the authors of the new research argue that reducing depression could substantially reduce support for political violence in the United States.
“The last several years in American politics have unfortunately introduced concern about political violence,” said study author James N. Druckman, the Payson S. Wild Professor of Political Science at Northwestern University and author of “Experimental Thinking: A Primer on Social Science Experiments.”