By Aaron Earls
As Americans gather with family and friends this week, many young adults in the United States and around the world report feeling lonely and isolated.
Only a third of young adults around the world say they often feel cared for by those around me (33%) and often feel someone believes in me (32%), according to a survey from Barna and World Vision of 18- to 35-year-olds from 25 countries.
Nearly 1 in 4 (23%) acknowledge they have feelings of loneliness and isolation.
Christians (19%) and those of other faiths (22%) are less likely than the religiously unaffiliated (31%) to say they feel isolated.
Being active in their faith also leads to less feelings of isolation. Fewer practicing Christians (16%) say they have such feelings than non-practicing Christians (21%).
While all 40% of all young adults say they often feel optimistic about the future, the same percentage say they often feel anxious about important decisions, uncertain about the future, and afraid to fail.
Around a third say they often feel a pressure to be successful (36%) and able to accomplish their goals (34%).
Close to 3 in 10 report often feeling a need to be perfect (30%), satisfied with their life choices (29%), secure in who they are (28%), and sad or depressed (28%).
Barna classified young adults as anxious If respondents say they feel at least three of the following: anxious about important decisions, sad or depressed, afraid of failure and insecure in who they are.
Among those surveyed, 1 in 5 (20%) qualified as anxious according to that definition.
Those young adults are more likely to experience other negative emotions asked about in the survey.
Almost 3 in 5 in that group (59%) report a sense of isolation.
Those who attend a worship service weekly are less likely to say they are experience anxiety (22%) compared to others (33%).
Individuals with increased anxiety are more likely than others to point to issues like hypocrisy (43%), human suffering (41%), global conflict (38%) or unanswered prayer (27%) as barriers to their belief in the spiritual.
They are also less likely to say religion is good for people (48% compared to 57% overall), good for society (43% vs. 53%), or believe the Christian church is important to society (42% vs. 52%).
AARON EARLS (@WardrobeDoor) is online editor of Facts & Trends.