A new study has found that nature and nurture are both responsible for depression.
The study, led by Gerald Haeffel, a psychologist at University of Notre Dame, suggests that the neurotransmitter dopamine may play a role in the risk for depression.
Early negative interpersonal environments (i.e. rejecting parents) have also been implicated.
In the study, the researchers investigated whether a gene associated with dopamine interacted with maternal parenting style to predict episodes of depression.
In the study, the researchers studied 177 male adolescents from a juvenile detention centre.
The participants were ideal candidates for the study because depression rates rise so dramatically during this period in life.
The researchers used a structured diagnostic interview to diagnose depression and a questionnaire to assess aspects of maternal parental rearing i.e. physical punishment, hostility, lack of respect for the child's point of view, and unjustified criticism in front of others.
The analysis revealed that the boys with especially rejecting mothers, and a specific form of the dopamine transporter gene were at higher risk for major depression and suicidal ideation.
The results suggest that using psychosocial interventions to increase dopamine activity in the brain, helping patients focus on identifying and pursuing new goals and rewards could prove beneficial to lowering depression rates.
The study has been published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science