Mental health experiences differ across race, gender and age
Washington, DC, June 19, 2020 –A new Ipsos study reveals different experiences with mental health according to race or ethnicity, gender, and age. Black and Hispanic Americans are more likely than white Americans to think about their mental well-being often, while also more likely to report seeking professional counseling since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Men are more optimistic about their own mental well-being than women but are also thinking about their mental well-being less. Younger Americans are less likely to see their mental health as very good or excellent, and they report higher stress and anxiety when compared to older generations since the start of COVID-19.
White Americans are far less likely to say they think about their mental well-being often or have sought professional counseling since the start of COVID-19.
- While more than half of Americans, regardless of race, rate their mental or emotional health as excellent or very good (57% overall), white Americans are far less likely than black and Hispanic Americans to say they think about their own mental well-being often (62% vs. 72% and 71%, respectively).
- Three quarters of white Americans agree that mental health is an illness like any other, but fewer minority Americans agree (65% non-white Americans).
- Moreover, black (20%) and Hispanic (18%) Americans are more likely to report seeking out professional counseling or a therapist since the start of the pandemic (versus 13% overall and 11% of white Americans).
Men have more positive views regarding their own mental health, but they are less likely to agree that society needs to adopt a more tolerant attitude towards those struggling with mental illness.
- Men (24%) are more likely to say their mental health is excellent when compared to women (18%). On the other hand, more women than men say their own mental well-being has gotten worse since the COVID-19 pandemic began (29% of men, 38% of women).
- Women are far more likely to think about their mental well-being often (70% vs. 59% men).
- Women overall are more accepting of mental illness than men. They are also more likely to view mental illness like other illnesses (75% females agree, 68% males agree), and want society to adopt a more tolerant attitude towards people with mental illness (83% females agree, 74% males agree). Women are more likely than men to say that seeing a mental health professional is a sign of strength (74% females agree, 62% of males agree).
Younger people are more likely to think about their own mental well-being often and to agree that they feel lonelier and more anxious since COVID-19 social distancing began.
- Generation Z respondents – those aged 18-23 or 24 – are less likely to report excellent or very good mental health (39%) when compared to older generations (55% millennials, 52% Gen Xers, 66% Boomers and older).
- Those under age 40 (76% of Gen Z and millennials) think more often about their own mental well-being when compared to those over 40 (67% of Gen X and 52% of those older than age 55). There is no significant difference between age groups for frequency of thinking about their physical well-being.
- The younger you are, the more likely you are to report experiencing loneliness, stress or anxiety. A majority of Americans under 40 are more likely to agree that they feel lonelier (67% Gen Zers, 51% millennials, 43% Gen Xers, and 35% Boomers and later) and more anxious (66% Gen Zers, 51% millennials, 47% Gen Xers, and 36% Boomers and later) since social distancing began. Though most Americans (62%) say they are coping well with everything going on in the world, older people, particularly those over age 55, say this in larger numbers.
- Just slightly more than one in ten (13%) have sought out professional counseling or therapy since the COVID-19 pandemic began. This includes one in five Americans under age 35. By comparison, just 5% of those over age 55 have sought out therapy.
About the Study
These are some of the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted between June 17-18, 2020. For this survey, a sample of 1,115 adults age 18+ from the continental U.S., Alaska, and Hawaii was interviewed online in English. The findings of this poll are trended with a survey conducted by Ipsos on the Global Advisor platform between August 23-September 6, 2019 among 1,000 U.S. adults age 18-74 years old. They are also trended with surveys conducted by Ipsos on behalf of Newsy between May 13-15, 2020 among 2,009 U.S. adults Hawaii and April 16-20, 2020 among 2,004 U.S. adults.
The sample for this study was randomly drawn from Ipsos’ online panel (see link below for more info on “Access Panels and Recruitment”), partner online panel sources, and “river” sampling (see link below for more info on the Ipsos “Ampario Overview” sample method) and does not rely on a population frame in the traditional sense. Ipsos uses fixed sample targets, unique to each study, in drawing a sample. After a sample has been obtained from the Ipsos panel, Ipsos calibrates respondent characteristics to be representative of the U.S. Population using standard procedures such as raking-ratio adjustments. The source of these population targets is U.S. Census 2016 American Community Survey data. The sample drawn for this study reflects fixed sample targets on demographics. Posthoc weights were made to the population characteristics on gender, age, race/ethnicity, region, and education.
Statistical margins of error are not applicable to online non-probability polls. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error and measurement error. Where figures do not sum to 100, this is due to the effects of rounding. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll has a credibility interval of plus or minus 3.3 percentage points for all respondents. Ipsos calculates a design effect (DEFF) for each study based on the variation of the weights, following the formula of Kish (1965). This study had a credibility interval adjusted for design effect of the following (n=1,115, DEFF=1.5, adjusted Confidence Interval=+/-4.8 percentage points).
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