Regular church attenders were the sole major group surveyed in the 2020 Gallup Poll Americans’ Assessment of Their Mental Health to show a positive increase, compared to 2019.
The increase was only four percent, from 42 percent of respondents claiming to attend weekly church services who rated their mental health condition as excellent in 2019, to 46 percent in the year of the Covid Pandemic and continued lockdowns in most states.
Every other major demographic measured by Gallup showed declines, including several with double-digit drops. Those who describe themselves as “nearly weekly/monthly” church attenders, for example, showed a 12 percent decline, while those who “seldom/never” attend church reported a 13 percent decline.
There was not a lot of difference in how men and women rated their mental condition, with eight and 10 percent declines, respectively, in those rating their mental health as excellent, compared to 2019.
Similarly, the same figures were seen for declines among married (eight percent) and unmarried respondents (10 percent), according to Gallup.
Party affiliation, however, made a huge difference, as the decline was 15 percent among Republicans, 11 percent among Independents, and only one percent among Democrats.
The highest income groups surveyed by Gallup also showed dramatic declines, with those reporting more than $100,000 in annual income, as well as those with $40,000 to $99,000, both showing 12 percent decline. The decline was six percent among those with less than $40,000 in income.
Overall, Gallup said the decline in those giving themselves excellent mental health ratings was eight percent.
“Although the majority of U.S. adults continue to rate their mental health as excellent (34 percent) or good (42 percent), and far fewer say it is only fair (18 percent) or poor (5 percent), the latest excellent ratings are eight points lower than Gallup has measured in any prior year.
“The latest weakening in positive ratings, from a Nov. 5-19 poll, are undoubtedly influenced by the coronavirus pandemic, which continues to profoundly disrupt people’s lives, but may also reflect views of the election and the state of race relations, both of which were on Americans’ minds this year.”
Gallup also said it found a different picture regarding physical health, as reported in the survey.
“While Americans’ mental health has suffered this year, their self-reported physical health has not changed substantially. In fact, the latest 29% excellent reading and the combined 79% excellent/good rating are similar to a year ago and close to the averages for the 20-year trend,” Gallup said.