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Risk of depression influenced by quality of relationships, U-M research says
Date:4/30/2013

tients' relationships with their loved ones likely play a central role in their medical care," Teo says. "They also suggest that the broader use of couples therapy might be considered, both as a treatment for depression and as a preventative measure."

While the results confirmed the researchers' assumptions about relationship quality, they did not find a correlation between the frequency of social interactions and the prevalence of depression as predicted. Even if participants were socially isolated, having few interactions with family and friends, it did not predict depression risk. Teo says this finding should also translate to mental health treatment considerations.

"Asking a patient how she rates her relationship with her husband, rather than simply asking whether she has one, should be a priority," Teo says.

The researchers say that the study's significant effect size one in seven adults with the lowest-quality relationships will develop depression, as opposed to just one in 15 with the highest quality relationships indicates the potential for substantial change in the general population.

"The magnitude of these results is similar to the well-established relationship between biological risk factors and cardiovascular disease," Teo says. "What that means is that if we can teach people how to improve the quality of their relationships, we may be able to prevent or reduce the devastating effects of clinical depression."


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Contact: Justin Harris
juaha@umich.edu
734-764-2220
University of Michigan Health System
Source:Eurekalert

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