Researchers at the Universities of Warwick, Manchester, and the Witwatersrand used Add Health data to demonstrate that moods likely pass from person to person, while depression does not. This evidence supports the theory of social contagion, which suggests that, to an extent, we take on the moods of the people around us. Depression, on the other hand, is a deeper, lasting mental health condition that doesn’t bend to such influence from others.
Read the story in Forbes – Study: Your Moods Are Contagious, Depression is Not by David DiSalvo, September 29, 2017.
“[M]ood does indeed spread through social networks, and the severity of bad moods in groups influences how fast someone in the group can recover. In other words, if you’re hanging around people who are chronically annoyed and frustrated, your ability to get back to a more stable mood is handicapped – even if you originally weren’t annoyed and frustrated yourself.
But even though bad mood contagions are potent, the study didn’t find evidence that people pass on depression, which further supports the argument that mood and depression aren’t synonymous. You can certainly make others feel more depressed than they were (i.e. more sad, frustrated, angry, etc.), but that’s significantly different than passing on depression.”