U.S. College Students Experience High Levels Of Worry And Stress: Poll

During the spring 2023 semester, U.S. college students reported experiencing high levels of worry and stress, according to a recent poll by Gallup.

76 percent of U.S. college students reported experiencing enjoyment during much of the prior day. However, majorities also said they felt stress (66 percent) and worry (51 percent). In addition, 39 percent said they endured loneliness and 36 percent said they felt sadness the previous day.

These results are based on a Gallup web survey conducted between March 13 and 30 among 2,430 students pursuing their bachelor’s degree at a four-year U.S. institution.

Female undergraduates, who represent the majority of currently enrolled U.S. college students, are more likely than their male peers to report experiencing negative daily emotions. Among all emotions evaluated, the greatest differences between male and female students are in the areas of worry and stress.

Approximately three-quarters of female students report experiencing stress a lot of the prior day, compared with 56 percent of male students. Likewise, 56 percent of female students report experiencing worry the prior day, compared with 40 percent of their male peers. Feelings of sadness are also much higher among female college students, and female students are less likely than male students to report experiencing enjoyment, the poll found.

Gallup research indicates Americans’ assessments of their mental health reached an all-time low in the winter of 2022. Unfortunately, high levels of negative daily emotions among college students are consistent with results from the Lumina Foundation-Gallup State of Higher Education 2022 study, which found emotional stress was a major reason currently enrolled students considered stopping out in the fall of 2022.

Feelings of stress, worry, loneliness and sadness have challenged higher education institutions in the years since the Covid-19 pandemic began, and they are likely to continue into the fall of 2023, Gallup says.

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