Good news, world: depression is not contagious — but apparently happiness is. So, if you suffer from depression, surround yourself with happy people, and you might catch their temperament.
A new study from the University of Manchester found a link between happy adolescent friends and a quick recovery from or reduced risk of depression.
But that doesn't mean you shouldn't befriend those with depression; the results also show that being friends with someone who is depressed does not put you at risk of becoming depressed.
The researchers looked at over 2,000 high school students in the U.S. to see how their moods influenced each other's, using similar methods to those used to monitor the spread of infectious diseases.
"We know social factors, for example living alone or having experienced abuse in childhood, influence whether someone becomes depressed," said co-author Dr. Thomas House, in a press release, emphasizing the importance of strong social support for recovery.
So, what's revolutionary about this study? "It looks at the effect of being friends with people on whether you are likely to develop or recover from being depressed," he said.
Clearly more work needs to be done, as this only proves correlation, not causation, but it's encouraging to see some science behind the good that positive friendships can make in our lives.
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