Lack of face-to-face interaction almost doubles depression risk

liverWe all know the importance of staying connected and in touch with others, but it turns out not all forms of contact are equal. A recent study has found that adults aged 50 or above who rarely see friends or family in person are almost twice as likely to develop depression compared with those who do. In the study, those who met up regularly with loved ones were less likely to report symptoms of depression 2 years later, compared with those who emailed, wrote letters or talked on the phone.

“Phone calls and digital communication, with friends or family members, do not have the same power as face-to-face social interactions in helping to stave off depression,” said lead author Dr. Alan Teo, assistant professor of psychiatry at Oregon Health & Science University. “Meeting friends and family face-to-face is strong preventive medicine for depression.”

3genThe study also noted that depending on your age, the type of individual you socialize with- family member versus friend- also has an impact on depression levels. The researchers found that among adults aged 50 to 69, frequent in-person contact with friends reduced subsequent depression whereas those 70 and older benefited from in-person contact with children and other family members.

SOURCE: Journal of the American Geriatrics Society

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