— Individuals who live alone have a nearly 80 percent greater danger of depression than those who live with others, new research indicates.
In the last three decades, the number of individuals living on their own in the United States has doubled, to one in three people.
The study included 3,500 working age men and women in Finland who were followed for seven years. The researchers looked in the participants’ health, sociodemographic and psychosocial risk factors; living arrangements; and antidepressant use, like insufficient exercise, heavy drinking and smoking.
In risk factors for guys included too little support at work or in their private lives plus heavy drinking.
“This type of study generally underestimates risk since the folks who are at the most danger are usually the people who are least likely to accomplish the follow up,” study author Laura Pulkki-Raback, of the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health in Helsinki, said in a journal news release. “We also were unable to judge how common untreated depression was.”
Over half of the increased threat remains unexplained, the researchers noted. Potential factors can include feelings of alienation from society, lack of trust or difficulties due to important life challenges.