Science is now recognizing what far too many citizens have already experienced in their lives: Constantly watching what you say at school and work in order to stay one step ahead of the ever-vigilant PC-police and wokesters takes its toll on the human psyche and bleeds into life at home. This is the finding of new research published in the Journal of Applied Psychology conducted by six scholars who conducted five different studies on the matter.
The study, properly entitled “Walking on Eggshells: A Self-Control Perspective on Workplace Political Correctness,” shows that the new politically correct regime of possibly losing one’s job or being socially ostracized by peers for uttering the most innocent comment is affecting mental health at work, school and home in measurable ways.
These scholars call such political correctness in public life “a double-edged sword” because it does cause us to be more mindful of what we say, but can also tend to haunt workers during and after work and school, leaving us all feeling more angry and withdrawn at home in our off hours. These scholars explain,
Specifically, many of the behaviors involved in being politically correct (e.g., monitoring situations to evaluate whether something might be offensive, aligning oneself with normative expectations, and suppressing certain words or behaviors) may require self-control, which can be depleting. This has some concerning implications, as depletion is likely to impact how well employees interact with their spouses at home in the evening.
PsyPost, a news site for psychology professionals, reports this “new research represents one of the first attempts to systematically investigate the topic” of how such hyper-policing of language reduces individual mental health. The two lead authors of this new journal article explained, “Ours is just a first step towards better understanding both the causes and consequences of being politically correct” on mental health, adding “There are likely a number of ways in which these negative effects can be mitigated, and so our paper showing these negative effects will, we hope, spur some of these efforts.”
Of course, being thoughtful of others and mindful of their feelings is important for all people. But when you create an atmosphere that is hair-trigger sensitive to the slightest unintended infraction, and the corresponding punishment is severe, it puts people under harmful pressure. It is indeed good news that leading university-based research is highlighting the downsides of this kind of negative social policing.
Hopefully such research provides a scientific, empirical rationale for finally pushing back on the campus-based and workplace wokesters who are creating so much trouble and headaches for so many.
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