People Who Live Alone are More Likely to Feel Depressed, Study Finds

People Who Live Alone are More Likely to Feel Depressed, Study Finds
25.02.2024

A new report by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC)’s National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) revealed that depression is more likely to occur among adults who live alone compared to those who live with others.

The Guardian reports that data the NCHS collected from the 2021 National Health Interview survey, which involved speaking to more than 29,400 people. The data collected shows that 6.4 percent of adults who live alone reported having feelings of depression, while only 4.1 percent of adults who lived with others reported having the same feelings. The difference was present across gender, age, income, and most racial groups.

However, researchers also pointed out that economic factors also played a strong part in heightening feelings of depression. Respondents who were living alone and also living below the federal poverty line were 14 percent more likely to report feelings of depression as opposed to only 8.7 percent for those who lived with others.

The study also noted that while there is an increased risk of social isolation when living alone, it does not mean that people living alone can not be “actively engaged in their work or communities and may have access to social networks and social and emotional support that may be protective of mental health.”

The study comes two years after the World Health Organization (WHO) announced that there was a 25 percent increase in the prevalence of anxiety and depression around the world during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Aside from active engagement in communities, numerous studies have also come out showing different ways that people can reduce the risk of depression. A study came out in Science Daily last year that showed that a healthy lifestyle involving a moderate consumption of alcohol, a healthy diet, regular physical activity, healthy sleep, and frequent social connection reduces the risk of depression in people.

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According to the study conducted by a team of researchers from Cambridge University and Fudan University, getting a good night’s sleep – which should be between seven to nine hours a night – reduced the risk of depression by 22 percent, while there was an 18 percent reduction in the risk of depression in people who had frequent social connections.

People who consumed alcohol moderately had their risk of depression reduced by 11 percent, while those who had a healthy diet saw the risk reduced by six percent. People who engaged in regular physical activity reduced their risk by 14 percent, people who never smoked reduced their risk by 20 percent, and people who had low-to-moderate sedentary behavior reduced their risk by 13 percent.

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