Is there a link between not taking a vacation and depression?

A new study by Ipsos Public Affairs and Allianz Global Assistance identified “Vacation Deficit Disorder” through a Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9), a clinically validated screening questionnaire that tests likely levels of depression.

A vacation deficit is defined as “Americans who think that an annual vacation is important, but who are not confident that they will take one this year.”

Vacation Deficit Disorder is the relationship between a lack of vacation and depression.


Results showed that almost one-third of Americans with a vacation deficit demonstrate symptoms of mild to moderate depression. Twelve percent would be considered to be suffering signs of moderately severe to severe depression. And individuals identified as displaying signs of moderately severe or severe depression are significantly less likely to have taken a vacation in the past two years, and are less likely to take a vacation in 2018.

“While we have long known that Americans underutilize their vacation time, this shows the real consequences this can have for their health and well-being,” said Daniel Durazo, director of communications at Allianz Global Assistance USA. “While this research shows a relationship between the lack of vacation and signs of clinical depression, more comprehensive work is needed to fully understand the long-term effects of not taking a vacation on the mental health of Americans.”

Will Americans who need a vacation get one?

Allianz’s Vacation Confidence Index found that, among the 58 percent of Americans who say it’s important that they take a vacation every year, 67 percent are confident that they will get one.

This leaves 21 percent of Americans who find annual vacations important but are not confident that they will be able to take one in the next 12 months, a number that is unchanged since the survey was administered last year.

The Vacation Confidence Survey found that an annual vacation is very important to 40 percent of those showing signs of moderately severe to severe depression and is important to 31 percent of the general population.

Those suffering from depression had lower levels of confidence that they would take a vacation this year. Twenty-four percent were confident that they would take one versus 32 percent of the general population, who said they were confident they would take a vacation.

Of those suffering from depression, 39 percent said that they typically get a summer vacation in comparison to the national average of 46 percent.

Sixty-two percent of those suffering from depression did not take a summer vacation in 2017 compared to the national average of 47 percent and 56 percent of those with depression have not taken a vacation for more than two years as compared to 38 percent of the general population.

When it comes to the confidence that they will take a vacation at some point in 2018, just 23 percent of those with depression believed they would compared to a national average of 35 percent.

The Vacation Confidence Index has been conducted each summer since 2010 by national polling firm Ipsos Public Affairs on behalf of Allianz Global Assistance USA.