Happiness contagious, not depression

Washington DC, Aug 19 : Don’t be afraid of becoming friends with a depressed person as a new study has revealed that it does not put you at the risk of becoming depressed yourself, whereas healthy mood is contagious.

In the study, researchers from Universities of Manchester and Warwick looked at over 2,000 adolescents in a network of US high school students to see how their mood influenced each other by modelling the spread of mood using similar methods to those used to track the spread of infectious diseases.

They team found that while depression does not ‘spread’, having enough friends with healthy mood can halve the probability of developing, or double the probability of recovering from, depression over a 6-12 month period.

Thomas House of the University of Manchester said that their study was slightly different as it looked at the effect of being friends with people on whether they were likely to develop or recover from being depressed.

House said that having a stronger social network is an effective way to treat depression.

These results suggested having healthy friends is both protective and curative.

House further said that as a society, if people enable friendships to develop among adolescents, each adolescent was more likely to have enough friends with healthy mood to have a protective effect.

The study is published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B. (ANI)