NEWS15 September 2020

US researchers have poorer mental health than general workforce

Covid-19 News North America People Trends

US – More than four in five US market research professionals have struggled with their mental health in the past year, research from the Insights Association (IA) and Opinium has found.

Woman holding head while seated at desk

The research report Opening the Conversation: Mental Wellbeing in Insights, which is based on a survey of 482 IA members, found 83% of market researchers surveyed had struggled with their mental health versus 50% of the US workforce.

The research found 58% of those surveyed had told someone at work about their mental health problems, compared with 38% among US professionals generally.

Stress was the biggest cause of mental health issues among market researchers, with 48% citing impending deadlines as a big cause of stress and 47% mentioning high workload.

Covid-19 has led to a better work-life balance for 52% of respondents, but 46% said they were working longer hours and the same proportion said they were struggling to separate work from leisure.

Research professionals were less likely to feel pressured to return to work early if they took time off due to mental health than the general workforce, at 33% to 52%.

Fewer also felt guilty for taking time off ( 46%) than the average US worker ( 56%), the research found.

However, only one in three research professionals have taken time off for their mental health ( 30%), much fewer than US workers at large ( 46%).

The research found the problem was particularly acute in younger people, with nine in 10 research professionals aged under 35 having experienced some sort of mental health problem in the past 12 months.

The research is modelled on similar surveys launched earlier this year by the Market Research Society in the UK and with The Research Society in Australia. Those surveys will also be supported by Opinium.

Melanie Courtright, chief executive of the Insights Association, said: “It is alarming to see such pervasive mental health concerns among our colleagues. This data makes it clear that this is a monumental issue that must be urgently addressed at the highest levels of companies.”