Latest Coronavirus Study on Mental Health Reveals What’s Giving Americans the Most Anxiety

New research outlines the different types of anxiety people are experiencing right now

By Elizabeth Yuko, Ph.D.
April 16, 2020

During the coronavirus global pandemic, only one thing is completely clear: there’s so much uncertainty about everything. From the science behind understanding the virus, to our medical resources and personnel being stretched incredibly thin, to the economic impact of the outbreak, there’s still a lot we don’t know — and that’s making us anxious. In fact, a recent study found that 72 percent of those surveyed indicated that the pandemic has negatively impacted their mental health, causing many to experience increased anxiety symptoms. But what, exactly, are the top concerns for Americans right now? Thanks to research commissioned by University of Phoenix, we have a better idea of what we’re most worried about during the coronavirus outbreak. 

Our top coronavirus concerns and sources of anxiety

To put a new spin on an old saying, anxiety loves company. For people living with depression or generalized anxiety disorder, it can be strangely comforting when other people share your anxieties. More often than not, there is some overlap, and it can make people feel less alone to know that they’re not the only person worried about something. That’s why the results of this new study aren’t only interesting, but could be reassuring for many people too, knowing that others share their concerns.

According to the new study, these are the top 10 concerns for people during the coronavirus outbreak. The percentage indicates how many of the survey’s participants indicated that the issue is a major cause of anxiety:

  1. Their loved ones’ health — 71%
  2. Their own health — 61%
  3. Experiencing increased anxiety — 41%
  4. Not being able to pay bills — 33%
  5. Missing out on celebrating milestones (birthdays, graduations) — 30%
  6. Feeling prolonged loneliness or depression — 27%
  7. Reduced job salary/work hours — 26%
  8. Losing job/not being able to get another job — 22%
  9. Kids missing school and backsliding in their education — 19%
  10. Not being able to finish education — 8%

How to cope with coronavirus anxiety

Though it can be really easy to get caught up in a spiral of stress and anxiety right now, there are ways to boost your mental health during the pandemic. “While many people only associate negative feelings with social distancing, there can be several benefits embedded in such opportunities,” Dr. Dean Aslinia, counseling department chair at the University of Phoenix said in a statement.

For example, Aslinia recommends reaching out to an old friend, but instead of texting or emailing, make a phone call or use video chat to build a more meaningful connection with them. He also suggests building activity into your day, by trying something new or setting a small goal for yourself. “Start a new fun project or challenge that you can share with friends or loved ones,” he adds. “Engaging in activities and interacting with people that uplift you is important for maintaining mental health in uncertain times.”

About the writer:

Dr. Elizabeth Yuko is a bioethicist and writer as well as an adjunct professor of ethics at Fordham University. She has written for print and online publications, including The New York TimesThe Washington PostThe AtlanticRolling StoneCNNFodor’sLifehackerReader’s Digest and Playboy.

Outlier Disclaimer

This site is for educational purposes and not a substitute for professional medical care by a doctor or otherwise qualified medical professional. The information provided by Outlier Magazine is on the understanding that it does not constitute medical or other professional advice or services.

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