Can Nature and Nurture Both be Blamed for Depression

By the year 2020, depression is thought to become the 2nd leading cause of disability all over the world. It affects all people regardless of age group, geographic location or social position. In the United States, nearly 18.8 million adults or about 9.5 percent of the country’s population age, above the age of 18 years have depression. The average age of its onset is just at 14.5yrs in today’s society.

Are Nurture and Nature to be Blamed Together: Some young people are more prone to depression than others. The influence of surroundings and upbringing on an individual’s mind is known to be a well known cause of depression. Research studies have confirmed the role of genes in this mental disorder off late. But isn’t it important to explore the nexus between nurture and nature in causing depression? This article seeks the help of research facts to gain further insight on this topic.

What Research has to Say: According to a prominent theory of depression known as the diathesis’ stress theories, genetic impairment coupled with negative experiences in life cause depression. But traditionally studies on depression studied about these factors separately until now. So researchers from University of Notre Dame wanted to find out whether there was a relation between maternal parenting style and a gene which influenced important brain hormone dopamine. The hormone dopamine has an important role to play in making us feel happy.

What the Research Involved: The study took place in the year 2008 in Russia. 177 male teenagers were selected as subjects from a juvenile detention center. It is a known fact that depression is high during teenage. It is during this same phase of life when a child demands independence from the clutches of parents.For this reason, such participants were ideal candidates for the study. The researchers used techniques like conducting interviews to diagnose the severity of depression and made the teenagers to fill a questionnaire. With the help of this questionnaire, the researchers wanted to know about the way these male teenagers were brought up by their mothers. Aspects like lack of respect for the child’s point of view, physical punishment, hostility, and unjustified criticism in front of others were closely studied.

The Conclusions Drawn: The study found that the factors separately did not predict depression. However, boys with a change in the gene influencing dopamine hormone and especially rejecting mothers were at higher risk for developing depression and committing suicide. The result was published in January 2008 issue of Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

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