New Landmark Study From Cigna Shows American Resilience Is At Risk

  • Cigna conducts the largest U.S. survey of resilience,i assessing the ability of students and working adults to recover from challenges
  • Research shows resilience is at risk for 3 in 5 Americans surveyed and identifies a sharp decline in resilience between ages 11-23


BLOOMFIELD, Conn., Sept. 29, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- The Cigna Resilience Index, the largest study of resilience in the United States to date, finds that resilience is at risk for 60 percent of Americans.

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New Landmark Study From Cigna Shows American Resilience Is At Risk

"As individuals, our resilience is being tested today in numerous ways. And, it's understandable that the challenges Americans are confronting, whether related to the pandemic, social injustice, the economic climate or other issues, would take a toll on children and working adults alike," said David M. Cordani, President and Chief Executive Officer, Cigna. "Armed with the unique insights from the Cigna Resilience Index, we now better understand that resilience is not a static attribute, but functions more like a muscle that can be strengthened and grown over time. We view our research findings as a call to action to provide Americans with the tools and support they need to not only survive this moment and future crises, but ultimately, to thrive in the face of them."

Resilience, commonly defined as the ability to quickly recover from challenges, has been a key theme of 2020 and will be moving forward. The Cigna Resilience Index, developed in partnership the Resilience Research Centre, evaluated two cohorts: school- and university-age communities (students ages 5-17 and their parents, and young adults ages 18-23) and the American workforce (ages 18+).

Among the robust findings from the Cigna Resilience Index, the data shows that children entering their early pre-teen years (11-13) often experience a sharp decline in resilience that continues through age 23, with most acute levels of low resilience occurring between the ages of 18-23.

Results also show that only 37 percent of full-time workers having high resilience. Moreover, one-third of full-time workers (33 percent) and one-third of essential workers (32 percent) say they almost never have workplace discussions about the impact of COVID-19 on them, their families and their mental health.

The consequences of low resilience can have lasting effects on people and businesses. Children with lower resilience are more likely to have lower self-esteem, perform worse in the classroom, have lower educational aspirations and require treatment for a mental or behavioral health issue. In adult workers, low resilience has a direct impact on business outcomes, as it is correlated to lower job satisfaction, engagement, performance and retention. Without the ability to cope with challenges, adults are also more likely to experience stress, anxiety and depression and resort to negative coping strategies, such as social withdrawal and/or substance abuse/alcohol.ii,iii

"The Cigna Resilience Index, along with our recent Loneliness Index, show just how prevalent these emotional issues are today. We've seen the trajectory all too often – people suffer loneliness, which can lead to depression, addiction and other chronic health conditions," added Cordani. "Through Cigna and Evernorth, our newly-launched health services brand, we will continue to innovate, evolve and expand services and partnerships to help people improve their mental health and emotional well-being. To create a healthier tomorrow, we must help people cope with life's challenges in a more positive way."


The Cigna Resilience Index: Children surveyed 5,000 parents and their children ages 5-17, and 1,500 young adults ages 18-23 and the Cigna Resilience Index: Workforce surveyed 5,000 adults ages 18+.

Children Key Findings:

  • Resilience Curve: 45 percent of those ages 5-10 are considered resilient, but that number decreases to only 34 percent at ages 11-13 and further declines to only 22 percent in young adults ages 18-23. Resilience increases again as people eventually become parents.
  • Sense of Belonging: Approximately three in ten children say they only sometimes or do not "fit in," and those who say they do not "fit in" are more than 20 times more likely to have low resilience. Young adults with low resilience are 5 times less likely than those with high resilience to feel that people like to spend time with them (96 percent vs. 17 percent).
  • Social Media Use: Children who use social media for less than 5 hours a day are more likely to be resilient than children using it for more than 5 hours a day (42 percent vs. 30 percent). But, children who create original content are more likely to be resilient than children who consume content (39 percent vs. 34 percent).

Workforce Key Findings:

  • Employment Status: Only 37 percent of full-time workers are considered highly resilient. Full-time workers have the highest resilience levels, with resilience decreasing as workers move from full-time employment to part-time employment to unemployment.
  • Sense of Belonging: Full-time workers with lower resilience are 16 times less likely to say that people like to spend time with them (95 percent vs. 6 percent).
  • Diversity & Inclusivity: Full-time workers in more diverse workplaces and those who have frequent conversations at work about systemic racism are more likely to be highly resilient (40 percent vs. 28 percent, 48 percent vs. 36 percent).
  • Access to Mental Health Services: Workers with access to expanded mental health services are more likely to be resilient than those without access (48 percent vs. 35 percent).

Today, the company is launching GROW FORTH: A Cigna Approach to Building Greater Resilience as a free resource to help people learn more about the various aspects of improving resilience. Cigna is also introducing a toll-free School Community Support Line within Miami-Dade County and Nashville school districts for the 2020-2021 academic year to help build resilience and improve well-being in students. For the full research report and to learn more about GROW FORTH, please visit

This recent work builds upon Cigna's recent studies on mental health and well-being, including Global Well-Being 360 and Loneliness in America.

About Cigna

Cigna Corporation is a global health service company dedicated to improving the health, well-being and peace of mind of those we serve. Cigna delivers choice, predictability, affordability and access to quality care through integrated capabilities and connected, personalized solutions that advance whole person health. All products and services are provided exclusively by or through operating subsidiaries of Cigna Corporation, including Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company, Cigna Life Insurance Company of New York, Connecticut General Life Insurance Company, Evernorth companies or their affiliates, Express Scripts companies or their affiliates, and Life Insurance Company of North America. Such products and services include an integrated suite of health services, such as medical, dental, behavioral health, pharmacy, vision, supplemental benefits, and other related products including group life, accident and disability insurance. Cigna maintains sales capability in over 30 countries and jurisdictions, and has more than 185 million customer relationships around the world. To learn more about Cigna®, including links to follow us on Facebook or Twitter, visit

Media Contact
Lauren Borghard
1 (860) 840-4354


i Largest US study of resilience using the CYRM and ARM scales.

ii Ponte, K. (2020, April 20). Coronavirus: Building Mental Health Resilience. Retrieved September 09, 2020, from

iii How to build resiliency. (2020, May 15). Retrieved September 09, 2020, from


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