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Press release
Health|Trends and Forecasting|United States|English

Watch Out for Winter Blues: Canadians More Inclined to Experience Depression, Mental Health Issues – GfK Survey


  • ​Canadians ranked highest in the Americas region to experience depression, anxiety and other mental health issues in study of 22 countries
  • Almost one in three Canadian women reported experiencing depression, anxiety or other mental health issues in the past year
  • Findings reveal top five health concerns for Canadians and gender differences for many ailments

As Canada heads into another winter season, Canadians need to be mindful of the winter blues, in addition to their seasonal flu shots and winter health precautions.

A survey by GfK on the most common health complaints revealed that one in four Canadians have experienced depression, anxiety or mental health issues in the past year. In Canadian women, that incidence is even higher, with almost one in three saying they have experienced a mental health issue in the past 12 months.

These are findings from an online survey that asked over 27,000 people in 22 countries which health conditions from a given list they had experienced in the last 12 months.

Cold, cough and flu top the list of most common ailments experienced by Canadians (48%), followed by muscle pain due to over exertion or injury. Almost one-third of Canadians also reported having issues with sleep deprivation; insomnia or sleeping problems ranked third among 13 ailments. Incidence was slightly higher for women, with over one in three experiencing problems sleeping, while only one in four men reporting the same.

A pattern of gender differences
For almost all the conditions listed in the survey, women have a higher likelihood of having experienced them in the last 12 months than men. For example, while chronic back pain and heartburn rounded out the top five most common health complaints for men, with nearly one in four experiencing them in the past year, more women had reported experiencing these ailments at 29% for chronic back pain and 28% for heartburn.

For more information on GfK’s international research into people’s attitudes and behavior, please contact press@gfk.com

About the study
GfK conducted an online survey with over 27,000 consumers aged 15 or older in 22 countries. Fieldwork was carried out over the summer 2015 and the data have been weighted to reflect the demographic composition of the online population age 15+ in each market. The countries included are Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, Poland, Russia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, UK and US.

The survey question asked: “Which of the following conditions have you experienced in the past 12 months? (Select all that apply): Skin conditions (such as psoriasis, eczema, acne) / Allergies / Depression, anxiety or other mental health issues / Chronic back or joint pain / Cold, cough, sore throat, upper respiratory infection, flu or influenza / Diabetes, pre-diabetes / Vomiting, diarrhea, intestinal cramps or other stomach ailments / Migraine or severe headaches / Heartburn or acid reflux / High cholesterol, high blood pressure or hypertension / Obesity or overweight / Insomnia, problems sleeping, sleep disorders / Muscle or joint soreness or pain due to over-exertion or injury / None of these”

About GfK
GfK is the trusted source of relevant market and consumer information that enables its clients to make smarter decisions. More than 13,000 market research experts combine their passion with GfK’s long-standing data science experience. This allows GfK to deliver vital global insights matched with local market intelligence from more than 100 countries. By using innovative technologies and data sciences, GfK turns big data into smart data, enabling its clients to improve their competitive edge and enrich consumers’ experiences and choices.

For more information, please visit http://www.gfk.com or follow GfK on Twitter.​