June: A new study has found that people become more easily depressed following minor life stresses, partly because they have experienced early life adversities or prior depressive episodes.
According to researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), both these situations may make people more sensitive to later life stresses.
Although, most people are pulled down by significant adversities like the death of a loved one or getting fired, roughly 30 pc with first-time depression and 60 pc of people with a history of depression develop the disorder following relatively minor misfortunes.
“We have known for a long time that some people are more likely to experience mental and physical health problems than others,” said George Slavich, an assistant professor at the UCLA Cousins Center for Psychoneuroimmunology.
“For example, while some people get depressed following a relationship breakup, others do not. In this study, we aimed to identify factors that are associated with this phenomenon and to examine whether increased sensitivity to stress might be playing a role,” he added.
The researchers studied 26 men and 74 women with depression, to determine what types of adversity they were exposed to in their young age, how many episodes of depression they had experienced and what types of life stresses they had encountered recently.
The study showed that people who had lost a parent or had been separated from a parent for at least one year before the age of 18 and individuals who had experienced more episodes of depression over their lifetime became depressed following significantly lower levels of recent life stress.
The study appears in the current online edition of the Journal of Psychiatric Research.