A new study published in the journal Health Psychology has examined the link between depression and chronic diseases in women.

Source: Medical News Bulletin


A large portion of the working population today face an increased susceptibility to multiple chronic diseases due to hectic work schedules, lack of physical exercise, exposure to environmental pollutants, and unhealthy eating habits. The work demands are even higher for middle-aged women, many of whom are caregivers and handle additional domestic responsibilities. Such demanding work schedules, family obligations, financial pressures, and other stressful conditions are unsustainable over time and can increase the chance of developing depression. However, a direct link between depression and the progression of multiple chronic diseases has not been explored in detail. A team of researchers from The University of Queensland has conducted a large study to identify the links between depression and chronic diseases.

The study followed more than seven thousand middle-aged women aged between 45-50 for a period of 20 years (1996-2016). The researchers collected data at the beginning of the study – when women did not have any symptoms of depression nor any reported chronic disease. Following this, data on the state of the women’s chronic physical conditions and data on the presence of depressive symptoms was collected every three years for the entire duration of the study. At the conclusion of the study, a direct comparison of susceptibility to multiple chronic diseases was conducted between depressed women and non-depressed women.

My Comments

This article reports on a longitudinal study of the link between depression and chronic diseases in women. The study included more than 7,000 women who were between 45 and 50 at the study’s outset in 1996. They were followed for 20 years. At the study’s beginning none reported any symptoms of depression or chronic diseases. At its conclusion, the researchers concluded that 43 percent of the women had developed depressive symptoms. Two conclusions are rather striking. First, depressed women had an almost 2.4-fold higher risk of developing a chronic disease. Secondly, a woman’s risk of developing multiple chronic diseases increased 1.8-fold after the development of depressive conditions. The results of this study heighten the need to be alert for depressive symptoms and to actively address them. Another interesting article links specific brain responses to physical phenomena: The Science Explorer