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Dive Brief:

  • Women college students are more likely to report high stress and less enjoyment in life than their peers who are men, according to new survey data from Gallup
  • Three-quarters of women students, 72%, said they felt high levels of stress in the past day, compared to 56% of men students. A majority of women, 56%, said they worried the previous day while just 40% of men said the same.
  • College men were also more likely to have enjoyed at least part of their previous day, the data found. Some 83% of men reported feeling enjoyment, compared to 72% of women.

Dive Insight:

Women run into certain hurdles more often than men when attempting to complete their college degrees. For instance, they are more likely to be caregivers, according to peer-reviewed research published last year. And just over half of college women held down jobs in 2021, compared to 44.5% of men, federal labor data shows.

However, Gallup’s survey results showed high levels of emotional turmoil across both men and women in college. Among all undergraduate students, 39% said they experienced loneliness and 36% felt sad the previous day.

“Feelings of stress, worry, loneliness and sadness have challenged higher education institutions in the years since the COVID-19 pandemic began, and they are likely to continue into the fall of 2023,” the polling company said Thursday.

Students’ daily negative emotions were similar regardless of their racial or ethnic background, or whether they were the first in their families to attend college.

“Incoming students require significant support to overcome the stressors they will face to be able to complete their postsecondary experience and launch successfully into life after graduation,” Gallup said.

For the report, researchers in March surveyed just over 2,400 bachelor’s students at four-year institutions. They did not include responses from students who didn’t identify as male or female due to the small sample size.

The resulting data mirrors findings from previous research conducted by Gallup in partnership with the Lumina Foundation. In fall 2022, roughly 2 in 5 students said they considered stopping out in the previous six months, with emotional stress as the No. 1 reason cited.