Is Depression Contagious?

By  , PTI
Apr 20, 2013

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Is Depression Contagious

A recent study opines that it is. A particular way of thinking that makes people vulnerable to depression can actually “rub off ” on others, the new study has claimed. The study, led by psychological scientists, Gerald Haeffel and Jennifer Hames of the University of Notre Dame shows that those people who respond negatively to stressful life events are more vulnerable to depression than those who are mostly positive.

This “cognitive vulnerability” is a potent risk factor for depression and can be used to predict who all are likely to undergo a depressive episode in the future even if they have never had one before. The experts hypothesised that cognitive vulnerability may be “contagious” during major life transitions, especially when our social environments are in flux.

The hypothesis was tested using data from 103 randomly assigned roommate pairs. It was revealed that freshmen who were randomly assigned to somebody with a high level of cognitive vulnerability were likely to catch the roommate’s cognitive style and develop higher levels of vulnerability.

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