Ever noticed your mood fluctuating depending on the company you are with at that moment? A new study led by the University of Warwick shows that friends may actually “catch” mood from each other. Depending on the happiness quotient of your friends, this may be good or bad news.
Using data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health, researchers found that mood and certain symptoms of depression such as helplessness and loss of interest seem to spread across friendship networks. While friends may get affected by each other’s mood to the point that they start feeling similar emotions, the study found that they don’t necessarily get pushed into clinical depression.
The findings of the study, although a bit on the bleak side, may have several implications for the treatment and further study of depression, such as the need for early intervention to prevent individuals with sub-threshold levels of depression (i.e. low mood) from getting clinically depressed later in life as well as looking at how helping individuals with mood disorders can have a positive reverberating effect across their friendship and even familial networks.
Also, if you are often providing support to a friend who is experiencing a challenging time emotionally and mentally, it would be a good idea to take some time out to take care of your own feelings and mental well-being.
“Study suggests you can ‘pick up’ a good or bad mood from your friends” (2017). Retrieved from www2.warwick.ac.uk.