September 14, 2015

CBS News Features Add Health Research


Summary: Using network data from Add Health, the research team of Edward M. Hill, Frances E. Griffiths, and Thomas House discovered that depression is not spread among friends, and that in fact, being part of a friendship network that includes adolescents with healthy moods can both reduce the risk of depression and increase the likelihood of recovering from depression.  

Read the CBS News story: Study shows certain moods are contagious


“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.’”

Scholarly source:  Hill EM, Griffiths FE, House T. Spreading of healthy mood in adolescent social networks. 
Proceedings of the Royal Society B 2015.  doi: 10.1098/rspb.2015.1180. Article available online