STATES CHRONICLE – A new study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society has helped identify the psychological benefits of face-to-face interactions. Depression signs can be significantly diminished by simply bearing in-person conversations with friends of family members, researchers have concluded.
Medical experts have long stressed the importance of face-to-face interactions, especially for patients suffering from certain diseases. In-person interactions are said to increase optimism and, consequently, the physical condition of the respective persons. However, scientists think the age of the two interlocutors and the degree of familiarity existing between the two are important variables that should also be taken into consideration.
For the current research, scientists have used a large group of 11,000 people aged 50 or above. Participants were scientifically observed between 2004 and 2010, while they engaged in various types of communication. Some participants were asked to bear face-to-face conversations, while others to rely heavily on phone, emails and letters.
At the end of the six-year experiment, researchers have concluded that depression can be warded off by simply bearing in-person conversations with other people. Only 7 percent of the individuals, who engaged in such activities once a week were likely to develop depression, whereas the percentage in the email-based group grew up to 12. The group that had face-to-face interactions every other month registered an 8 percent probability of depressive signs.
Interestingly enough, scientists have noticed that the conversation per se is not enough to keep depressive thoughts away. There has to be something else, namely, conversations have to be born with close friends and family members. This is when the biggest results are registered, researchers have stated.
The current study has succeeded in proving that face-to-face interactions and optimism go hand in hand, but they can’t really say whether depression is the consequence of the lack of in-person interaction or not. It may be that depression is causing people to avoid in-person interactions, scientists have concluded.
In the future, researchers plan to study the effects of social networks on humans’ psyche, given their recent surge in popularity. The current study has failed to account for such instances of communication because Facebook wasn’t very popular in 2010.
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