Depression among those living alone

There are currently high depression rates among individuals who live by themselves, new research has shown. Published in BioMed Central's journal BMC Public Health, the study revealed the risk of suffering from this condition is almost 80 per cent greater for people residing alone than those who share accommodation with a family or social group.

The investigation noted the number of adults making do alone has doubled in the UK and US over the last 30 years, rising to one-in-three.

Measuring the amount of people taking antidepressants, the findings revealed sociodemographic factors accounted for a third of depression risk for women - including low income and lack of education.

For men, however, poor job climate, drinking too much and experiencing a lack of support in both private lives and the workplace were the primary reasons cited.

Dr Laura Pulkki-Raback, who carried out the survey at the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, stated: "Poor housing conditions (especially for women) and a lack of social support (particularly for men) were the main contributory factors to this increased risk."

Susan Ashbourne, Chartered Psychologist, commented: "Social support and relationships are vital to a person's sense of wellbeing and this study highlights the particular vulnerability of those living alone to depression.

"Those living alone may struggle to feel part of a social network and the lack of positive social interaction can lead to depressive symptoms.

"Depression is often described as a dark, lonely and disconnected place - perhaps it is not surprising that these feelings are more likely to take hold in those living alone."