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Can moods be contagious – depression

New research questions how moods spread across groups on social networks. The results suggest that moods can indeed be transmitted, while depression cannot. This is an interesting finding given the growing prevalence of depression in teens.

Data from the World Health Organization (WHO) indicate that depression affects about 350 million people worldwide. The fact that depression in teens is particularly on the rise is a serious cause for concern. One study last year found that reports of major depressive episodes among young people jumped 37 percent between 2005 and 2014.

This new study, led by a researcher from the University of Warwick, published in the Royal Society Open Science journal, looked at how individuals are affected by their friends’ moods, how moods spread through a group, and whether depression can spread. Their research found that while symptoms of depression – such as feelings of helplessness or loss of interest – can be socially contagious, the influence of a friend’s mood is not enough to earn depression on their own.

The team analyzed data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health and used mathematical models to find that the more your friends suffer from bad moods, the more likely they are you will be the same, and it will be harder to improve the situation. The opposite effect has been found in people who have a more positive social circle.

Previous studies have shown that social support and new friendships can have a positive effect on adolescent mood disorders, and recent experiments show that an individual’s emotional state may be affected by exposure to emotional expressions of social contact, study leader Rob Eyre said in a statement.

Obviously, it would be beneficial to have a better understanding of how adolescents ‘moods are influenced by their friends’ moods in informative interventions that address adolescent depression.

Although their study has shown that the bad moods of friends are not enough to push someone into depression, researchers want to point out that it is equally important to study and support people who are experiencing symptoms of depression that are not yet high.

Low levels of depression symptoms in adolescents are an issue of great current concern because they are very common, diminishing quality of life and leading to a higher risk of depression later in life than situations where there are none, said co-author Frances Griffiths.

The results we found can inform public health agencies and design interventions for adolescent depression.

What do you think?

Written by michael

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