Is your friend’s bad mood sucking you in? Is being around them crossing over into a toxic experience?
The bad news is that you might be right. A new study has found that you can definitely “pick up” a negative mood from your friends. On the bright side though, when it comes to depression and those around you, you’re immune. And as for a good mood, well you could catch that, too.
The study, which was done by researchers at the University of Warwick in Coventry, England, involved analyzing the moods and friendships of adolescents in the U.S.
Researchers found that someone’s bad mood can spread over ‘friendship networks”, as can certain symptoms of depression including helplessness and a loss of interest in activities. The effect of this was not strong enough to push those who were not depressed into a depression, however.
And for those youth who have a positive social circle, the reverse can also take place, ie, happiness is also contagious. Someone is elated and having a great time at recess? It could affect the whole group.
The study, which was published in the journal Royal Society Open Science, concludes that increasing a person’s good friendships can help to reduce depression. Also, limiting the spread of negative thought patterns can also help stop bad moods in their tracks.
Anxiety and depression, while once thought to be the problems of adults, can also surface in children.
Both conditions can be highly treatable, and form some of the most common mental conditions in the U.S.
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