Americans suffering from a “vacation deficit” are nearly two times as likely to show signs of moderately severe to severe depression compared to the national average, according to the 10th annual Allianz Global Assistance Vacation Confidence Index. “Vacation deficit” identifies those who think that a vacation is important but are not confident they will take one this year.
“Vacation Deficit Disorder” – or the relationship between a lack of vacation and depression, and vice versa – was identified by international polling experts Ipsos, which administered the PHQ-9 survey, a clinically validated screening questionnaire to test likely levels of depression, to a statistically significant sampling of American travelers.
Almost one-third (30.4 percent) of Americans with a vacation deficit demonstrate symptoms of mild to moderate depression, while 12 percent would be considered to be suffering signs of moderately severe to severe depression. Meanwhile, of the general population, those identified as displaying signs of moderately severe or severe depression are significantly less likely to have taken a vacation in the past two years, and are less likely to take a vacation in 2018.
“While we have long known that Americans under utilize their vacation time, this shows the real consequences this can have for their health and well-being,” said Daniel Durazo, director of communications at Allianz Global Assistance USA, in a written statement. “While this research shows a relationship between the lack of vacation and signs of clinical depression, more comprehensive work is needed to fully understand the long-term effects of not taking a vacation on the mental health of Americans.”
To understand whether there was a link between depression and the incidence of vacationing, Ipsos, in partnership with Allianz, administered the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9) survey, an initial screening tool used by medical professionals to identify symptoms of depression.
The results suggest that there could be a link for those with more severe symptoms of depression and their propensity to take a vacation, despite being more insistent on its importance, Allianz said.
The 10th annual Vacation Confidence Index poll by Ipsos for Allianz Global Assistance provides an opportunity to look back at how Americans’ vacation habits have changed over the past decade.
Among the 58 percent of Americans who say it’s important that they get a vacation each year, 67 percent are confident that they’ll get one. This leaves a vacation deficit of 21 percent of Americans who find annual vacations important but aren’t confident they’ll take one in the next 12 months – unchanged since last year—while one in ten (11%) have already taken one.
The Vacation Confidence Index has been conducted each summer since 2010 by national polling firm Ipsos Public Affairs on behalf of Allianz Global Assistance USA. A vacation is defined as a leisure trip of at least a week to a place that is 100 miles or more from home.