A new study conducted by researchers at Indiana's University of Notre Dame suggests that depression could be contagious and people could catch the depressive feelings from their friends or family some months down the line. The researchers followed 103 random pairs of college roommates who were in their freshmen year and asked them to fill out a questionnaire in order to measure their cognitive vulnerability and depressive symptoms.
The researchers repeated the process at three and six months and found that students who had cognitively vulnerable roommates also exhibited similar symptoms after three to six months. The study has been published in the journal Clinical Psychological Science.
“Our study demonstrates that cognitive vulnerability has the potential to wax and wane over time depending on the social context. This means that cognitive vulnerability should be thought of as plastic rather than immutable”, lead researcher Dr Gerald Haeffel said.