CogniFit's Science blog: Living In A Bachelor’s Pad Increases The Chances Of Developing Depression

Living In A Bachelor’s Pad Increases The Chances Of Developing Depression

With more people than ever living on their own, depression numbers are also on the rise. The UK and US has seen a steady increase over the last three decades with the number of lone residents doubling to one in three. And new research shows the risk of depression is far greater for those living alone compared to people in a social or family group.

BMC Public Health revealed new findings that show those living alone have an 80% higher risk of developing depression. This was measured by people who take antidepressants and for women, a third of the risk is attributed to socio-demographic facts like a lack of education or low income.

For men, a poor job climate or a lack of support at work are the biggest contributing factors. Alcohol and drugs remains a problem for many and certainly increases the odds of generating a somber mood. This is particularly true in men who often revert to the bottle when sad, mad, angry or agitated.

In addition to falling victim to depression, it has been known for some time that living alone increases the risk of mental health problems for the elderly and for single parents. However, little has been known about the effects of isolation on working-age people.

Researchers in Finland took on the challenge of following 3,500 working-aged men and women for seven years while comparing everything from their living arrangements to health risk factors, smoking, heavy drinking, physical activity and antidepressant use.

The doctor who conducted the research says the study found that people living alone have an increased risk of developing depression. There was no difference in the increased risk of depression by living alone for men or women. But poor housing conditions and a lack of social support contributed to the increased risk.

The researcher went on to explain that the study does underestimate risk because those at the greatest risk taper off and rarely finish the follow up. This does make it difficult to truly know all of the numbers. 

However, the study does clearly identify the factors that increase the risk of depression for people living alone; even nailing it down to what contributes for women and what for men.

There is still a great deal of research to be done as over half the increase in risk remains a mystery. This is largely due to feelings of alienation from society, lack of trust and difficulties arising from critical life events.