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by Dr Jeff Bailey

Sarah Palin continues to be the front page lead on the main Alaskan newspaper. The heading this morning is Back at work, Palin vents a bit over campaign criticism. The pressure and stress will continue.

If you look at the research on stress levels of politicians, you will have to read Cary Cooper’s research. He says that within six months there are significantly elevated stress levels for politicians. Before Sarah failed in her vice president race I was predicting her levels of stress.

The research on stress for politicians provides the usual behavioral indicators. Sleep loss, poor appetite, and eating and drinking too much are typical responses. But loss of motivation must be another worrying symptom of political stress.

Adapting to the role of Governor on her return after a failed election campaign nationally will provide additional stresses and challenges. She doesn’t have to deal with all the new issues that might occur at the national level – that is true. But she does have to pick up the reins of governorship of Alaska.

There is no doubt that Sarah is an outstanding campaigner. As governor, she promoted the notion that she is bipartisan. Her recent campaign activities could not support such a contention and trying to build fences could be stressful for her.

In today’s paper it was reported that she was asked how she could rebuild bipartisan relationships now that she is back in Alaska. The front page also highlights two different legal views of her role in Troopergate. There is no doubt that the opposition in government will be questioning her husband role in government, travel expenses for her children and ethics issues.

The biggest stress is likely to be post-campaign dumping. Already we see ‘unnamed McCain staffers’ leveling claims at here. They said that she did not know Africa was a continent. They criticized her Republican party funded shopping spree. She reduced staffers to tears with her attitude and demands. We will never know if these are true or not and, of course, Sarah should not give dignity to these criticisms whether they are founded or baseless.

I have confidence that Sarah Palin will handle the stress well. She has a strong sense of purpose of purpose and strong values. There will certainly be many media vultures and other opportunistic people who will try to scapegoat her. In the end, her sense of purpose and her willingness to protect her own health and the safety and health of her family will provide her with a stress-resistant shield against the future criticisms and the invasions of privacy.

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