Life History Determines How We Cope With Depression
It is a widely known fact that some people cope better with depression than others and that is because earlier life events might make people more susceptible to relatively minor misfortune.
According to a new research, although most people get depressed over a major event that happens in their life, such as a divorce, or getting fired or the loss of someone dear, there are still some people who may get depressed over minor things. These people either have a history of depression or the things they went through in their life made them more sensitive to these situations. From what the UCLA researchers, who were involved in the study, said, it seems that people who have experienced early life adversity or prior depressive episodes are more likely to get depressed more easily even from minor events. These things may make them become more sensitive over the years.
What the lead researcher of the study, George Slavich, and his colleagues did was to analyze data from individuals’ experiences of people with clinical depression, early adversity and recent life stress. What they found out was that people who had suffer a big loss in their early years or people who suffered more depressive episodes throughout their life, had a higher risk of getting depressed over minor things than others. “We have known for a long time that some people are more likely to experience mental and physical health problems than others,” Slavich said. He went on saying that for some people, going through a break up might be very difficult and some people might end up depressed, while others would not. That is the main reason for which the researchers made this study, to identify the factors which lead people to have a greater sensitivity to stressful situations.
In the study participated 100 people suffering from depression, out of which 26 were men and 74 were women. They all had to respond to some questions related to the type of adversity they went through, to how many depressive episodes they had gone through in their life and to the type of stress they had encountered in recent years. The results showed that people who had lost a parent or had been separated from their parents at a very young age or even before turning 18 were more prone to get depressed very easily over little things than people who did not. Moreover, the results also showed that a history of interpersonal loss also accounted for a heightened sensitivity when it came to interpersonal stressful situations. According to Slavich, although previous studies have shown that there is a connection between early adversity and the way we cope with things, this is the first one to show that interpersonal loss has a lot to do with this situation. Slavich concluded by saying that there are many theories which must be tested in order to find out for sure what triggers people’s responses to depression, but according to him, a life history of depressive events may set people’s mind on this track and they are more prone to get depressed over little things, more easily.11