Job Insecurity and Symptoms of Anxiety and Depression Among U.S. Young Adults During COVID-19

J Adolesc Health. 2021 Jan;68(1):53-56. doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2020.10.008. Epub 2020 Nov 9.


Purpose: This study aimed to estimate the associations between job insecurity and symptoms of anxiety and depression among U.S. young adults amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

Methods: We analyzed data on young adults aged 18-26 years from June 15 to June 30, 2020, from the weekly, cross-sectional Household Pulse Survey (n = 4,852) conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau. Two job insecurity measures and four anxiety and depression measures were analyzed using multivariable Poisson regression models adjusting for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, and marital status.

Results: Fifty-nine percent of participants experienced direct or household employment loss since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, and 38% were expected to experience direct or household employment loss in the coming 4 weeks. Recent direct or household employment loss and expected direct or household employment loss, among participants who did not experience recent employment loss, were associated with a greater risk of poor mental health on all four measures.

Conclusions: U.S. young adults experience a significant mental health burden as a result of job insecurity amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

Keywords: Anxiety; COVID-19; Depression; Job insecurity; Unemployment; Young adults.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anxiety* / ethnology
  • Anxiety* / psychology
  • COVID-19 / psychology*
  • Censuses
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Depression* / ethnology
  • Depression* / psychology
  • Educational Status
  • Employment / economics*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Health*
  • United States
  • Young Adult