Americans Experiencing Vacation Deficit More Likely to Show Signs of Moderate to Severe Depression, According to Allianz Vacation Index

Two in Ten (21%) Americans Say Taking an Annual Vacation is Important, but Aren’t Confident They’ll Get One this Year

The author(s)

  • Sean Simpson Vice President, Canada, Public Affairs
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New York, New York, Aug 29, 2018 — The 10th annual Allianz Vacation Index, conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs, has found a link between a vacation deficit and demonstrating signs of depression. A vacation deficit is defined as someone who says taking an annual vacation is important to them, but they are not confident that they’ll get one this year. It is these individuals who are more likely than the average American to be exhibiting signs of moderate or severe depression.

Among the 58% of Americans who say that taking an annual vacation – defined as leisure travel of at least a week to a destination at least 100 miles from home – is important (31% very/27% somewhat), two thirds (67%) are confident (51% very/17% somewhat) that they’ll take a vacation in 2018. Subtracting those who had already taken a vacation at the time of the survey (11%) and those unsure of whether they’ll hit the road this year (1%), this leaves 21% who say they’re not confident (14% not at all/8% not very) that they’ll vacation in 2018, despite saying it is important to them, leaving them suffering from a vacation deficit.

In order to explore the relationship between vacation deficits and mental health, Ipsos and Allianz administered the PHQ-9 (Patient Health Questionnaire) survey, which is an initial screening tool used by medical professionals to identify symptoms of depression. An index is created based on a respondent’s responses, and each respondent is classified on a scale from no depression to severe depression.

The chart below shows the proportion of respondents who were classified as having no depression symptoms, or showed signs of minimal, mild/moderate, and moderately severe to severe depression, cut by whether they are experiencing a vacation deficit or not. The data shows that those with a vacation deficit are more likely to be classified as having symptoms of more severe depression. Those without a vacation deficit are much more likely to not be showing any signs of depression. 

 Depression Severity

Those with a Vacation Deficit

Those without a Vacation Deficit

National Average

Not at all












Moderately Severe/Severe




The data showed the following among those who were identified as potentially having moderately severe or severe depression:

  • They are less likely to say they’re very confident that they’ll take a summer vacation this year (24% vs. national average of 32%).
  • They are less likely to say that they typically get a summer vacation of some kind (39% vs. national average of 47%).
  • They are more likely to say they did not take a 2017 summer vacation (62% vs. national average of 46%).
  • They are more likely to say that their last vacation was more than two years ago (56% vs. 39% national average)
  • They are less likely to say they’re very confident that they’ll take a vacation in 2018 at any point (23% vs. 35% national average)
  • They are more likely to say that an annual vacation is very important to them (40% vs. 31% national average), despite being most likely to have not had one for two years or longer.

Given these findings, these data suggest that more research examining the link between a lack of vacation and its impact on mental health is warranted.

About the Study

These are some of the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted between May 31 and June 3, 2018, on behalf of Allianz Global Assistance. For this survey, a sample of 1,005 Americans aged 18+ was interviewed by telephone (via the ORC Caravan). Weighting was then employed to balance demographics to ensure that the sample's composition reflects that of the adult population according to Census data and to provide results intended to approximate the sample universe. The precision of Ipsos telephone polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll is accurate to within ±3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, had all Americans aged 18+ been polled. The credibility interval will be wider among subsets of the population. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error.

For more information on this news release, please contact:

Sean Simpson
Vice President
Ipsos Public Affairs
+1 416 324 2002
[email protected]

The author(s)

  • Sean Simpson Vice President, Canada, Public Affairs

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