Social Support Reduces Genetic Depression Risk: Study Finds

Social Support Reduces Genetic Depression Risk

Mental Health News

A team of researchers at the University of Michigan explored how social support leads to reduced genetic depression risk. The study is published in the American Journal of Psychiatry.

The Study

The researchers surveyed two groups of participants (new doctors and older adults whose spouses recently died) with a measure of genetic risk called a polygenic risk score. They assessed factors like genetic risk of depression, mood changes, social environment and support, etc.

The Findings

The results revealed that supporting a person under stress can reduce his/her genetic depression risk. People who gained social support while dealing with a stressful situation or life event developed fewer depressive symptoms and recovered faster even if they did so.

The researchers elaborated: “Further understanding the different genetic profiles associated with sensitivity to loss of social support, insufficient sleep, excessive work stress, and other risk factors could help us develop personalized guidance for depression prevention. In the meantime, these findings reaffirm how important social connections, social support and individual sensitivity to the social environment are as factors in wellbeing and preventing depression.

To Know More You May Refer To

Cleary, J. L., Fang, Y., Zahodne, L. B., Bohnert, A. S. B., Burmeister, M., & Sen, S. (2023). Polygenic Risk and Social Support in Predicting Depression Under Stress. The American journal of psychiatry180(2), 139–145. https://doi.org/10.1176/appi.ajp.21111100

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