The Math Proves It: Depression Not Contagious Among Teens

Here's an interesting thought.  Happiness spreads, but depression doesn't.

According to a new study, having friends who suffer from depression doesn’t affect the mental health of others.

Research led by the University of Warwick found that just the fact of having friends can help teenagers recover from depression or even avoid becoming depressed in the first instance, reports.

The findings are the result of a study of the way teenagers in a group of US high schools influenced each others’ moods. The academics used a mathematical model to establish if depression spreads from friend to friend.

“Depression is a major public health concern worldwide," says professor Frances Griffiths, head of social science and systems in health at Warwick Medical School, University of Warwick. "But the good news is we’ve found that a healthy mood among friends is linked with a significantly reduced risk of developing and increased chance of recovering from depression."

She adds that the results offer implications for improving adolescents' moods. "In particular they suggest the hypothesis that encouraging friendship networks between adolescents could reduce both the incidence and prevalence of depression among teenagers," she says.

Who knew?  It seems pretty simple.  And if, in any way, this could prevent teen suicide, it's a truly easy way to try.


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