Well-Being Mental Health

Mental health tops parental concerns about children, survey

40 percent of parents are seriously worried about their kids developing anxiety or depression.
In this April 9, 2020, photo, Lila Nelson watches as her son, sixth-grader Jayden Amacker, watch es an online class at their home in San Francisco. The pandemic increased the amount of time kids and teens spend online, but some worry about the effects of media and technology on their outlook. AP Photo/Jeff Chiu

Story at a glance


  • Four out of 10 parents in the United States are “extremely” or “very” worried about their children struggling with anxiety or depression at some point in their lives, according to a new Pew Research Center report.  

  • The Pew Research Center surveyed more than 3,700 parents with children under the age of 18 to learn about parenting in the U.S. today.  

  • Parents surveyed were also very concerned about their children being bullied.  

U.S. parents are most concerned about their children’s mental health over other issues, according to a new survey.

A Pew Research Center survey of 3,757 parents with children younger than 18 years of age found that 4 out of 10 parents are “extremely” or “very” worried that their kid will suffer from anxiety or depression in the future.  

The second highest concern among parents is about their children being bullied.  

Out of survey respondents, 35 percent said they are either “extremely” or “very worried” about their children being bullied at some point in their lives.  

Mothers are more likely than fathers to worry about their children’s mental health, the report found.  

Almost half of mothers surveyed, or 46 percent, said they are “extremely” or “very” worried that their children will develop anxiety or depression at some point in their lives.  

Meanwhile, 32 percent of fathers surveyed said the same thing.  

Mothers are also more likely to worry that their children will be bullied than fathers.  

More than 40 percent of mothers surveyed admitted they are worried about their children being bullied while 28 percent of fathers said they are concerned about their kids being bullied, the survey found. 

Differences among parental concerns run along racial and class lines as well, according to the study.  

White and Hispanic parents are the most likely to worry about their children’s mental health. Out of all surveyed parents, 42 percent of White parents and 43 percent of Hispanic parents said they are “extremely” or “very” worried that their children might struggle with anxiety or depression.  

More than 30 percent of Black parents and 28 percent of Asian parents said the same.  

Low-income parents were more likely to be concerned about their children developing mental health issues or being bullied.  

Almost half, or 48 percent, of lower-income parents, said they are “extremely” or “very” concerned about their children struggling with anxiety or depression and being bullied.   

Out of middle-income parents surveyed, 38 percent said they are “very” or “extremely” worried about their children suffering from anxiety or depression, and 33 percent said the same regarding their children being bullied.  

A smaller percentage of high-income parents expressed serious concerns over their children’s mental health, with 32 percent reporting feeling “extremely” or “very” worried that their offspring will develop anxiety or depression.  

Similarly, 24 percent of high-income parents said they are worried about their children being bullied.  

But low-income parents ranked other concerns at almost the same level as mental health and bullying.  

Meanwhile, 44 percent of lower-income parents said they are “extremely” or “very” worried about being abducted, and 41 percent said they are “extremely or very concerned” about their children being beaten up or attacked.