Social connection is the strongest protective factor for depression

Social connection is the strongest protective factor for depression

And it’s also one of the strongest contributors to happiness and wellbeing!

via Science Daily

Researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) have identified a set of modifiable factors from a field of over 100 that could represent valuable targets for preventing depression in adults. In a study published in The American Journal of Psychiatry, the team named social connection as the strongest protective factor for depression, and suggested that reducing sedentary activities such as TV watching and daytime napping could also help lower the risk of depression.

“Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide, but until now researchers have focused on only a handful of risk and protective factors, often in just one or two domains,” says Karmel Choi, PhD, investigator in the Department of Psychiatry and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and lead author of the paper. “Our study provides the most comprehensive picture to date of modifiable factors that could impact depression risk.”

To that end, researchers took a two-stage approach. The first stage drew on a database of over 100,000 participants in the UK Biobank — a world-renowned cohort study of adults — to systematically scan a wide range of modifiable factors that might be associated with the risk of developing depression, including social interaction, media use, sleep patterns, diet, physical activity, and environmental exposures. This method, known as an exposure-wide association scan (ExWAS), is analogous to genome-wide association studies (GWAS) that have been widely used to identify genetic risk factors for disease. The second stage took the strongest modifiable candidates from ExWAS and applied a technique called Mendelian randomization (MR) to investigate which factors may have a causal relationship to depression risk. MR is a statistical method that treats genetic variation between people as a kind of natural experiment to determine whether an association is likely to reflect causation rather than just correlation…

… keep reading the full & original article HERE

#happiness #happy #happier #depression #mentalhealth #psychology #positivepsychology