More 보다 18 months into the coronavirus pandemic, Americans stay in limbo between lives once lived and also whatever the post-pandemic future holds. Because that many, the current reality incorporates a day-to-day web of risk assessment, upended routines and also endless news around the state that COVID-19 in the world, America and also our individual communities.

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October 26, 2021

A brand-new survey carried out by The Harris vote on instead of of the American emotional Association uncovered that stress and anxiety levels are holding stable from recent years, and also despite numerous struggles, U.S. Adult retain a hopeful outlook. Most (70%) were confident that every little thing will occupational out after ~ the coronavirus pandemic ends, and much more than three-quarters (77%) said, every in all, they space faring well during the coronavirus pandemic.

However, behind this professed optimism around the future, day-to-day struggles space overwhelming many. Lengthy effects that stress and also unhealthy habits changes space common. Day-to-day tasks and decision-making have become more an overwhelming during the pandemic, specifically for younger adults and parents. As each work can carry a new set of decisions about safety, security, growth, travel, work, and other life requirements, civilization in the United claims seem come be significantly wracked with uncertainty.


U.S. Adults room struggling with day-to-day decisions, specifically millennials


For many, the pandemic has applied the require for consistent risk assessment, v routines upended and once trivial tasks recast in light of the pandemic. Many civilization ask, “What is the neighborhood transmission in my area today and also how will certainly this impact my choices? What is the vaccination rate? Is there a mask mandate here?” once the determinants influencing a who decisions are constantly changing, no decision is routine. And this is prove to it is in exhausting. 

According come the survey, virtually one-third of adult (32%) said sometimes they are so stressed around the coronavirus pandemic that they struggle to make simple decisions, such as what to wear or what to eat. Millennials (48%) were particularly likely to struggle with this when contrasted with other groups (Gen Z adults: 37%, Gen Xers: 32%, Boomers: 14%, older adults: 3%). 

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More than one-third said it has actually been much more stressful to make day-to-day decisions (36%) and significant life decision (35%) compared with before the coronavirus pandemic. Younger adults were much more likely to feeling these decisions are more stressful currently (daily decisions: 40% that Gen Z adults, 46% that millennials, and 39% of Gen Xers vs. 24% that boomers, and 14% of enlarge adults; significant decisions: 50% that Gen Z adults and also 45% the millennials vs. 33% of Gen Xers, 24% of boomers, and also 6% of older adults). And slightly more than 3 in five (61%) i agree the coronavirus pandemic has made castle rethink exactly how they to be living their life. 

More than three in 5 (63%) agreed that uncertainty around what the next couple of months will be like causes them stress, and around fifty percent (49%) said that the coronavirus pandemic has made planning for their future feel impossible.

When it come to all at once stress, the is no surprising to discover that younger generations, who were more likely come say they struggle with an easy decisions, additionally reported normally high stress levels. Gen Z adult (5.6 out of 10 ), millennials (5.7), and also Gen Xers (5.2) reported greater average stress levels end the past month concerned the coronavirus pandemic than boomers (4.3) and older adults (2.9). This pattern to be mirrored in the groups’ respective ability to control stress; around fifty percent of Gen Z adults (45%) and millennials (50%) stated they execute not know how to regulate the anxiety they feel because of the coronavirus pandemic, compared with 32% of Gen Xers, 21% that boomers, and 12% of older adults.

1On a scale of one to 10 wherein one way “little to no stress” and 10 method “a great deal of stress.”


Decision-making exhaustion is having actually a disproportionate influence on parents, given transforms to work, school, and also everyday routines during the pandemic. Countless are struggling to control households divided by inoculation status, through one set of rules for vaccinated adults and also kids over age 12 and another for younger unvaccinated children—not to mention varying health problems that might exist. 

The ongoing uncertainty and also changes it seems ~ to it is in compounding battles for parents, specifically for those v younger children. Because that instance, parents with kids under age 18 were more likely than those without kids to say that both day-to-day decision and significant life decisions are an ext stressful than they were pre-pandemic (daily: 47% vs. 30%; major: 44% vs. 31%), through 54% the those with young youngsters ages zero to four reporting that day-to-day decisions have actually become an ext stressful. 

Moreover, almost fifty percent of parents reported that occasionally they space so stressed about the coronavirus pandemic that they struggle to make straightforward decisions (e.g., what come wear, what to eat) (47% vs. 24% the non-parents). Meanwhile, the majority made at the very least one major life decision throughout the coronavirus pandemic (62% vs. 35% that non-parents), portraying a decision-making paradox that appears to have actually emerged: despite uncertainty and decision difficulty, significant life alters still occur. 

All that this is put on on parents as the pandemic persists. And while many parents stated they space faring well throughout the coronavirus pandemic, they were less likely come say so 보다 non-parents (71% vs. 80%). Further, contrasted with 2020, parental were:

More likely to say household responsibilities (75% vs. 70% of parents in 2020) and relationships (68% vs. 64%) are significant sources of stress in their lives.More most likely to feel they can have used an ext emotional support than they got over the previous year (79% vs. 71%).Less most likely to feel they room doing sufficient to manage their stress (58% vs. 67%).More most likely to nap (35% vs. 30%) to control their stress however less likely to spend time with friends or household (35% vs. 42%).Less likely to say your mental wellness is very good or excellent (47% vs. 52%).

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Hispanic and also Black adults were much less likely to say they are faring well throughout the coronavirus pandemic 보다 non-Hispanic White adults, though the levels still speak to an in its entirety positive outlook (81% that non-Hispanic White adult vs. 68% of spain adults and also 72% of black color adults). Still, in line through the all at once survey findings, this positive finding stand in comparison to the reality of absorption pandemic-related stressors bearing down on marginalized communities, especially Hispanic adults. 

For example, Hispanic adult were much more likely than non-Hispanic White adults to say decision-making has actually become an ext stressful compared with before the pandemic (day-to-day decisions: 44% vs. 34%; major decisions: 40% vs. 32%), and Hispanic and Black adults were more likely than non-Hispanic White adults to say sometimes they room so stressed around the coronavirus pandemic that they battle to make even simple decisions (e.g., what come wear, what to eat, etc.) (38% and also 36% vs. 29%, respectively). 

Hispanic adults reported the highest possible levels of stress, ~ above average, over the past month regarded the coronavirus pandemic (5.6 vs. Black adults: 5.1; oriental adults: 5.1; non-Hispanic White adults: 4.8). Moreover, Hispanic adults were most likely to speak they are struggling v the ups and also downs the the coronavirus pandemic (61% vs. 51% the non-Hispanic White adults and also 51% of black color adults) and that they don’t know just how to regulate the anxiety they feel because of the pandemic (43% vs. 33% and 34%, respectively).

This unequal burden of stress on Hispanic adult was not surprising, considering findings from the inspection that light a light on racial and also ethnic disparities in relation to the influence of the pandemic. Specifics Hispanic adult were much more likely 보다 non-Hispanic White adults to understand someone who had been sick v or passed away of COVID-19 (sick: 64% vs. 46%; died: 42% vs. 25%).

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The median reported level the stress during the previous month amongst all adult was 5.0, which has actually held stable from 2020. Still, this level is slightly elevated indigenous pre-pandemic level (2021: 5.0; 2020: 5.0; 2019: 4.9; 2018: 4.9; 2017: 4.8; 2016: 4.8).

And if a year end year to compare of significant sources of stress reflects a bottom trend throughout most factors, work- and housing costs-related stress and anxiety slightly raised from 2020. Additionally, all resources of stress stay somewhat higher than pre-pandemic levels, through the economy, housing costs, personal safety, and discrimination representing more dramatic spikes.

Significant resources of stress: 2019–2021 

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As a an outcome of stress, virtually three-quarters that U.S. Adults (74%) have actually experienced various results in the last month, such as headaches (34%), feeling overwhelmed (34%), tiredness (32%), or alters in sleeping actions (32%). Again, younger adults and also parents were more likely come report this, v 86% the millennials reporting effects of stress, closely followed through Gen Z adult (84%) and Gen Xers (77%); just 59% that boomers and also 57% of larger adults stated the same. Parents to be also more likely 보다 non-parents come report experiencing effects of anxiety in the critical month (83% vs. 69%). 

Further, the majority of adults (59%) stated they have experienced behavior changes together a result of stress in the previous month. Many commonly, the alters had been avoiding social cases (24%), transforming eating actions (23%), procrastinating or neglecting responsibilities (22%), or changing physical task levels (22%). In associate with transforms in eat habits and also physical activity, an ext than one-third said they eat to control their stress, which continues to be elevated after increasing during the very first year that the pandemic (25% in 2019, 37% in 2020, and also 35% in 2021).

Percent of adults reporting they have experienced behavior changes together a result of tension in the critical month:Gen Z adults: 79%; millennials: 74%; Gen Xers: 64% versus boomers: 37%; older adults: 17%Parents: 75% vs. Non-parents: 50% 
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Generally speaking, U.S. Adults space adjusting v the pandemic, however some display fewer indicators of resiliency 보다 others. An ext than fifty percent of U.S. Adult (53%) i agree they space struggling with the ups and downs that the coronavirus pandemic. Further, slightly much more than one-quarter (26%) have actually low resilience, as established by a score of 1.00 to 2.99 ~ above the quick Resilience Scale. Fifty-eight percent had actually average resilience (a score of 3.00 to 4.30) and also 16% had actually high resilience (a score that 4.31 to 5.00), the inspection found.

Younger adults, parents, and also those through an yearly household revenue of much less than $50K were more likely 보다 their respective counterparts to have actually a short resilience score. Those with low resilience scores were much more likely than those with median or high resilience come say:

Their stress level, ~ above average, end the past month related to the pandemic has actually been higher (average: 6.3 vs. 4.9 and 3.3).The level of stress and anxiety in their life increased contrasted with prior to the pandemic (53% vs. 43% and 24%).Making decisions has become more stressful contrasted with prior to the pandemic (day-to-day decisions: 55% vs. 33% and also 16%; significant decisions: 54% vs. 32% and also 13%).Sometimes they space so stressed about the coronavirus pandemic the they struggle to do even an easy decisions (50% vs. 31% and 5%).

Further, those with low resilience scores were approximately three times as likely to have experienced negative impacts of stress and anxiety in the critical month (94% vs. 75% and 38%), specifically feeling overwhelmed (57% vs. 29% and also 12%) and also behavior alters as a result of anxiety (85% vs. 56% and also 25%), particularly avoiding social cases (41% vs. 20% and 10%).

Speaking come the struggles of this group, those with low resilience scores were more likely come be acquisition actions to manage their anxiety (98% vs. 92% and 80%), but additionally to feeling they could have used more emotional assistance than they got over the previous year (88% vs. 60% and also 25%).


Interviews were conducted in English and Spanish. Data were weighted come reflect your proportions in the populace based ~ above the 2020 Current population Survey (CPS) by the U.S. Census Bureau. Weighting variables consisted of age by gender, race/ethnicity, education, region, and household income. Hispanic adult were likewise weighted because that acculturation, taking into account respondents’ family language as well as their caramuseum.orgcity to read and speak in English and also Spanish. Nation of beginning (United States/non-United States) was also included because that Hispanic and also Asian subgroups. Weighting variables because that Gen Z adult (ages 18 to 24) included education, period by gender, race/ethnicity, region, family members income, and also size that household, based on the 2019 CPS. Propensity score weighting was used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online.

Parents are identified as U.S. Adults eras 18+ who have actually at the very least one person under the age of 18 life in their family members at least 50% of the time for whom they space the parent or guardian.

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Generational definitions are as follows: Gen Z adults (ages 18 to 24), millennials (ages 25 come 42), Gen Xers (ages 43 to 56), boomers (ages 57 to 75), and also older adult (ages 76+).