Social Support Protects Against Depression

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Tender loving care and support from friends and family help ward off depression in women, compared with men. For the study, 1057 opposite-sex twin pairs were asked how much they felt family and friends listened to them, understood their feelings, and helped them if they needed it. The participants were contacted at least 1 year later to determine if depression was an issue.

The researchers discovered that women who had little social support had a higher risk of depression. In men, the perception of social support had little influence on men's risk of depression. The findings, reported in the American Journal of Psychiatry (February 2005), also showed that women reported higher levels of social support, compared with men. Yet, men felt more supported by their spouses and twins.