Oregon – A recent study conducted by researchers from the Oregon Health and Science University suggested that the most common ways to communicate, like phone calls or digital communication, do not have the same benefits as face-to-face interactions when it comes to getting rid of depression. The research was published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.
“Meeting friends and family face-to-face is strong preventive medicine for depression,” said lead study author Alan Teo, who’s also an assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Oregon Health & Science University. “Think of it like taking your vitamins, and make sure you get a regular dose of it,” he said.
According to prior studies, it is suggested that interacting with others is good for people’s health. Having social support and staying connected with other people brings several benefits to the physical and mental health, researchers even said that it helps to live longer.
However, this new research also demonstrates the importance of how you stay connected with friends and family.
The researchers based their suggestion on an extensive analysis of data from more than 11,000 adults aged 50 and older who were part of the University of Michigan’s Health and Retirement Survey between the years 2004 and 2010. In the results, scientists discovered an association between the types of interactions people had with other and their likelihood of depression symptoms two years later.
According to the data, rates of depression did not appear to be influenced by the level of communication by phone, letters and email. Instead, those who tend to communicate the least with friends and family via face to face meetings, developed higher rate depression signs.
Researches found that 12 percent of those people showed signs of depression, when compared to an 8 percent of those who had in-person contact once or twice a month, while 7 percent of those who met other once or twice a week showed signs of depression, as well.
In addition, the research only shows a relation between more personal time spent with family and friend and lower rates of depression, but not cause-and-effect relationship.
“Everyone can relate to the question of whether to call a friend on your smartphone, text them or arrange to meet up,” Teo said.
“This study is perhaps the first to be able to offer some really concrete evidence that you are probably better off if you make sure to regularly spend quality time together with people,” HealthDay News reported.
Dr. Carla Perissinotto also commented on the study and said, “This is a reminder that it is important for all of us to stay connected. The human touch and human contact cannot be replaced.” Perissinotto is an assistant clinical professor in the division of geriatrics at the University of California, San Francisco.
Teo stated that he will continue with his research, and said that he is now trying to measure all different types of social media use to determine how that plays out with mental health outcomes, particularly in younger adults.
Source: HealthDay News