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Burnout and poor mental health put pressure on global vitality

  • Mental well-being, burnout, and stress are the deciding factors in overall vitality
  • Intellectual and emotional health ranked higher than physical health
  • Employers play a crucial role in boosting workforce vitality

ANTWERP, Belgium and HONG KONG, Oct. 26, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — High levels of burnout and poor mental health are hindering global well-being and vitality, according to the latest research from Cigna Healthcare.

The Cigna Healthcare Vitality Study 2023, released today with survey results from more than 10,800 respondents across 12 markets, shows only one in five people has a high level of vitality, with mental health being the critical factor.

Stress and burnout are major contributors to this. Those with low vitality suffer more stress (9 in 10) compared to those with high vitality (7 in 10). Although these levels have declined a little since the peak of the pandemic, they remain high, with eight in 10 people suffering. Burnout remains at endemic levels, with 94% of respondents reporting at least one symptom over the past year.

The global cost-of-living crisis is a major driver of this, with nearly half of all survey respondents listing it as a key source of stress, closely followed by “uncertainty about the future”.

Jason Sadler, President, International Health, Cigna Healthcare, said the Vitality Study demonstrates how the worsening well-being crisis is challenging people worldwide.

“Our latest research shows overall health is the sum of numerous factors. Many external stressors are severely affecting our mental well-being, leading to worrying rates of stress and burnout,” Mr. Sadler said.

“With significant global challenges such as conflict, illness, and the cost-of-living crisis affecting the day-to-day lives of billions of people, we can no longer measure well-being using narrow health metrics such as diet, exercise, and disease alone.

“Meaningful well-being assessments must honestly consider the bigger picture: intellectual and emotional stimulation, cultural and social connections, financial and physical security, and of course health. Our Vitality Study does exactly that.”

Over nine years, Cigna Healthcare has monitored the changing dynamics of well-being across the globe. The Vitality Study 2023 brings together insights on how social, occupational, financial, intellectual, physical, spiritual, emotional, and environmental factors are interrelated and reframing our concept of health.

Top vitality indicators

  • I really value learning new things and understanding more and more (53%)
  • I know places I can always go in which I feel safe and well (50%)
  • I choose to prioritize my physical health (43%)
  • I can successfully build connections with others (43%)
  • I feel capable of managing my emotions (42%)
  • I look forward to each new day (42%)

The study shows that vital workplace skills, such as building knowledge, having a safe and secure environment, and being able to manage emotions are among the highest indicators of overall vitality.

Mr. Sadler said the results deliver a strong message to employers around the world to work quickly to address the vitality gap.

“Work is a central part of people’s vitality and well-being. It provides the social settings, resources, and benefits that are critical to positive health.  It is therefore essential that every employer considers this as part of their workplace health plan.”

Dr Stella George, Chief Medical Officer, International Health, Cigna Healthcare, added that employers have a responsibility to create workplaces that help individuals thrive.

“Well-being is the sum of our choices, the quality of our relationships, and the health of our communities. As such, the modern definition of health also extends beyond absence of illness. It’s about thriving in all aspects of life – physically, mentally, socially, and environmentally.”

About the Cigna Healthcare Vitality Study 

The Cigna Healthcare Vitality Study surveyed 10,800 respondents in the US, UK, Netherlands, Spain, Belgium, Switzerland, Kenya, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, China, Singapore, and the Hong Kong SAR between May and June 2023.

The survey asked 35 questions to gauge respondents’ sense of social, occupational, financial, intellectual, physical, spiritual, emotional, and environmental well-being – providing Cigna Healthcare with a comprehensive picture of people’s ability to thrive in an organizational setting and to pursue life with health, strength, and energy.

The study was based on the Evernorth Vitality Index©, developed in partnership with leading clinical psychologist and author Dr. Richard Ryan using his Self-Determination Theory and Subjective Vitality Scales (SVS). The index measures eight dimensions of well-being as well as three components of the SVS.

About Cigna Healthcare

Cigna Healthcare is a health benefits provider that advocates for better health through every stage of life. We guide our customers through the health care system, empowering them with the information and insight they need to make the best choices for improving their health and vitality. Products and services are provided exclusively by or through operating subsidiaries of The Cigna Group (NYSE:CI), including Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company, Connecticut General Life Insurance Company, Evernorth Health companies or their affiliates and Express Scripts companies or their affiliates. Such products and services include an integrated suite of health services, such as medical, dental, behavioral health, pharmacy, vision, supplemental benefits, and others.

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