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Brexit and mental wellbeing

With many UK citizens suffering from anxiety as a result of Brexit, this research project investigates the psychological factors relating to England's imminent exit from the EU.

Image of the Great Britain flag by Big Ben

Researchers

Research background

This research is putting together the puzzle pieces behind the UK’s decision to leave the EU, which has caused much anxiety across the nation and beyond. While some research is beginning to emerge around so-called ‘Brexit’, limited work focuses on several psychological factors related to these recent events.

Research aims

The aim of this research was to measure attitudes towards voting preference, how participants might vote now and a range of attitudinal and personality factors.

Results

We found no difference between leave and remain and non-voters on locus of control, decision-making styles or empathy. However, leave voters reported higher levels of social dominance orientation, racial prejudice, and collective self-esteem. Age also proved to be a factor in voting choices, and older participants tended to report higher levels of social dominance orientation and racial prejudice.

We reported on qualitative findings, also gathered from the survey, which present a richer picture of voters’ reasons and attitudes. Together, these findings contribute to the growing picture forming around UK’s decision to leave the EU, while providing an insight into the important psychological processes behind collective decision making.