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Thread: Study shows certain moods are contagious

  1. #1

    Study shows certain moods are contagious

    Having good friends is important, and the mood of those around is contagious. I believe that this is one purpose of Sangha Community.

    In fact, the below seems pretty much just common sense.




    Having friends is good for your soul, and may also be good for your health. New research shows that a healthy mood spreads among friends, while depression does not.

    Using data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, researchers from the University of Manchester and the University of Warwick in the U.K. examined how moods spread among networks of teens.

    The team looked at data from over 2,000 teens in the United States. Using methods similar to those that scientists use to track the spread of infectious disease, the researchers analyzed the spread of healthy or depressed moods among each student's network of friends.

    They found that having friends with a healthy mood reduces a teen's chance of developing depression, and increases the chance of recovering from depression.

    "What we found is that if you have sufficient friends who are not depressed, in a healthy mood, then that can halve your probability of developing, or double your probability of recovering from, clinical depression in the six to twelve month period that the study ran over," Dr. Thomas House, a senior lecturer in applied mathematics from the University of Manchester and an author of the study, told CBS News.

    But importantly, researchers found that depression does not spread.

    "There's no negative effect to friendship," said House. "Your depressed friends don't put you at more risk; in fact, you can help them recover."

    The study was published Tuesday in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences.

    Depression is a major public health concern worldwide. The World Health Organization estimates that, globally, more than 350 million people of all ages suffer from depression.

    House notes that while more work needs to be done on the subject, the new research suggests that promoting friendships among teens could help reduce the problem.

    "As a society, if we enable friendships to develop among adolescents (for example, providing youth clubs), each adolescent is more likely to have enough friends with healthy mood to have a protective effect," House said in a statement. "This would reduce the prevalence of depression."

  2. #2

    Study shows certain moods are contagious


    I think the above is true in a lot of situations. Having a good support system helps with recovery from depression. There are selection biases in the studies because of the effect of suicide.

    Gasho, Jishin, _/st\_
    Last edited by Jishin; 08-20-2015 at 10:43 AM.

  3. #3

    Interesting study. I must say though that I've seen friends become 'down' around their depressed people, just because they were 'feeling along' with their friend too intensely. In Dutch there is a word 'medeleven' and a word 'medelijden' the first is litterally translated 'to share the life (or the way things go)', the second is ' to share the suffering'. I would always advise to go for the first.
    I doubt indeed that depression is contagious in the way a happy mood can be , but especially close friends of a depressed person should always be aware that they can help their friend better by not 'diving down' along with their friend.


    Sat Today
    Ongen (音源) - Sound Source

  4. #4
    A big part of learning to teach art (probably endless learning) is seeing how my energy does so much when greeting students. I haven't been glum or cranky yet, but have seen how a joyful energy, that kind of rising glow which makes the whole face smile, makes them happy, and is infectious. It definitely sets the afternoon.


    sat today

  5. #5

    Here is another twist:

    "I don't want to be his friend. He is such a downer."

    "If I only was able to make friends I would not be so down all the time."

    "I just don't know how to be happy. I guess it must be inherited because everyone in my family is like this."

    None of this though is an excuse for not trying to decrease suffering.

    Gasho, Jishin, _/st\_

  6. #6
    Member Getchi's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Between Sea and Sky, Australia.
    Come on, not one joke about "Dr.House" and depression?

    Just another reason to encourage peopl eto connect with and enjoy the company of others.


    Reading his personal page, his idea of confounding in statistical data is interesting, especially his description of depression and alcohol abuse/use.

    SatToday +10.
    Last edited by Getchi; 08-20-2015 at 02:56 PM.
    Nothing to do? Why not Sit?

  7. #7
    I think is well established that loneliness leads to depression. Though separated by many miles, it is nice to have fellow travelers on this journey.
    Sat Today

  8. #8
    Thank you, Jundo.

    I am very thankful to have two good friends. I am very blessed to have them both. True friends are a rare, and valuable treasure, a needle in a haystack.

    sat today

  9. #9

    Currently there is quite a bit of research on the topic of social contagion. Goes way back to my grad school days…I remember a study where graduate assistants “jay walked” and the researcher found that the behavior “spread” and others copied the behavior. I question the ethics of this study a bit! Anyway it was back in the day where there was probably little in the way of human subjects review.

    Here is a study on how kindness can spread.


  10. #10

    Honk your horn in a bad traffic jam. See how many people follow suit.

    Gasho, Jishin, _/st\_

  11. #11
    Thank you for this, Jundo.

    I am not a scientist or anything, but everyday practice has showed me that smiling and Right Speech is a great tool to put people in a good mood... specially myself!

    Also, anger and sadness are really easy to pass onto someone else. That's why one should always pay attention to the fact that we are all connected in a deeper level than we can imagine.


    Hondō Kyōnin
    奔道 協忍

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Kyonin View Post
    ...That's why one should always pay attention to the fact that we are all connected in a deeper level than we can imagine.

    sat today

  13. #13
    There is a strong line of research that suggests that everything spreads through our network - happiness, depression, kindness, weight gain, etc. - there is even an effect 3 degrees removed from the original actor. Some of these things spread easier than others - but one of the encouraging findings is that while everything spreads through networks, what you put into the network matters. Being kind, compassionate, forgiving, does really have an effect on people. Even those you never come into contact with. Christakis and Fowler do a great job detailing this research in "Connected: The Surprising Power of our social networks". Here is Christakis talking about it on TED:

  14. #14
    Thanks much PlatosGhost I did not know Fowler and Christakis had a TED talk!


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