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Good Moods Infectious Among Teens, Depression Is Not

Researchers say happy adolescents appear to help others avoid or recover from depression

FRIDAY, Aug. 21, 2015 (HealthDay News) — A good mood is infectious among teens, but depression is not, a new study suggests. The findings were published online Aug. 19 in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

Researchers looked at 2,194 American high school students to see how they influenced each others’ moods. They found that a positive mood seems to spread through groups of teens, but having depressed friends doesn’t increase a teen’s risk of depression.

In fact, having plenty of friends in a good mood can halve the chances that a teen will develop depression over six to 12 months. Having a lot of happy friends can also double the likelihood of recovering from depression over the same time period, the researchers found.

“We know social factors, for example living alone or having experienced abuse in childhood, influences whether someone becomes depressed. We also know that social support is important for recovery from depression, for example having people to talk to,” study author Thomas House, D.Phil., a senior lecturer in applied mathematics at the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom, said in a university news release.

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