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Nearly 4 in 10 College Students Report Feelings of Loneliness

Nearly four in ten college students reported feelings of loneliness (39 percent) and sadness (36 percent) the previous day during the spring 2023 semester, a Gallup survey found

While 76 percent of U.S. college students reported feeling enjoyment much of the prior day, majorities also reported feeling stressed (66 percent) and worried (51 percent), in addition to being lonely and sad. 

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,” according to the pollster. “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.”

Female undergraduates, which make up the majority of currently enrolled college students in the U.S., are more likely than their male peers to identify with negative daily emotions.

A girl student is leaning against the wall and looking out the window (Pexels/RDNE Stock project).

A girl student is leaning against the wall and looking out the window (Pexels/RDNE Stock project).

Seventy-two percent of female students reported experiencing stress a lot the previous day, compared to 56 percent of male students. Likewise, 56 percent of female students reported being worried the prior day, compared to 40 percent of male students. Forty-one percent of female students reported feelings of loneliness, as did 35 percent of male students.

“Feelings of sadness are also much higher among female college students, and female students are less likely than male students to report experiencing enjoyment,” according to the report. 

These results are based on a March 13-30, 2023, Gallup web survey with a sample of 2,430 students pursuing their bachelor’s degree at a four-year U.S. institution.

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