“The study, published this month in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, included data on more than 11,000 people age 50 and older. Those who met with family and friends once every few months or less were nearly twice as likely to be depressed two years later than those who met up very often, i.e., three or more times per week. Frequency of phone or e-mail contact with family and friends had no clear effects on depression risk.”
As the article says, this study focused on adults over 50, but there’s no reason to think the results wouldn’t be the same for any age. Nothing feeds depression, in my experience, quite like being left alone with your own thoughts. We need contact with other people just to keep “in touch” with reality sometimes, and remind ourselves of our own value. Depression tries to take that away from us.
Online and phone contact might provide some benefit, but it really isn’t the same. It’s a great way to stay in touch with people, but it won’t help fight off depression in the same way that personal contact does. I think that’s the one thing I will remember most about this article.