Washington DC : A new study has revealed that face-to-face socialising is more powerful than phone calls and emails in guarding against depression.
Lead author Alan Teo of the Oregon Health and Science University found that all forms of socialisation were not equal. Phone calls and digital communication, with friends or family members, do not have the same power as face-to-face social interactions in helping to stave off depression. In the study, Teo’s research team assessed more than 11,000 adults aged 50 and older in the United States.
They examined the frequency of in-person, telephone and written social contact, including email. Then they looked at the risk of depression symptoms two years later, adjusting for potential confounding factors including health status, how close people lived from family and pre-existing depression. The researchers found that having little face-to-face social contact nearly doubles your risk of having depression two years later. Researchers reported that having more or fewer phone conversations, or written or email contact, had no effect on depression.
Study participants who met up with family and friends at least three times a week had the lowest level of depressive symptoms two years later than those who had less frequent contact. Individuals who met up just once every few months or less frequently had an 11.5 percent chance of depressive symptoms. The study is published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.