The links between stress and depression

People with a history of depression may be more likely to return to the state when they experience minor life stress, new research has suggested. Investigators from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) found individuals who went through early life adversity can be more sensitive to hardship in their later years.

The study, which has been published in the Journal of Psychiatric Research, showed young people who suffer the loss of a parent often become depressed following lower levels of stress than children who enjoy a relatively pain-free upbringing.

George Slavich, Assistant Professor at the UCLA Cousins Center for Psychoneuroimmunology - which investigates the relationship between brain and body - said an example of this is when one person experiences depression following a relationship break-up but others do not.

"Individuals who are exposed to early parental loss or separation and persons with greater lifetime histories of depression may be selectively sensitised to stressors involving interpersonal loss," he added.

Kasia Symanska, Chartered Psychologist, commented: "It is not surprising to find a link between the reoccurrence of depression and stressful life experiences. It may be appropriate for individuals with a history of depression to be taught stress management techniques to improve their overall ability to cope with increases in stress."