Saturday, July 6, 2013

Depression Can Be Catching

An article entitled Cognitive Vulnerability to Depression Can Be Catching was recently published in the journal Clinical Psychological Science. According to the abstract, cognitive vulnerability is a potent risk factor for depression. Individual differences in cognitive vulnerability solidify in early adolescence and remain stable throughout the life span. However, stability does not mean immutability. Studies of 103 pairs of randomly assigned college freshmen roommates showed that cognitive vulnerability could change by means of a contagion effect. Participants who were randomly assigned to a roommate with high levels of cognitive vulnerability were likely to “catch” their roommate’s cognitive style and develop higher levels of cognitive vulnerability. Moreover, those who experienced an increase in cognitive vulnerability exhibited significantly greater levels of symptoms of depression over the study period than those who did not. What does this mean? In the words of a Dr. Amen blog, “College Students Beware - You Can Catch Depression from Your Roommate.” Part 2 tomorrow.

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