The Long-Term Effects of Depression

Know what sucks about feels of anger and depression in teens and young adults? They can affect you well into your middle age.

This sobering news come courtesy of a new study in the Journal of Family Psychology. In it, researchers followed 341 people for twenty-five years in an effort to understand the long-term effects of negative emotions. Subjects, 178 women and 163 men, were surveyed starting in 1985. From ages eighteen to twenty-five, the subjects were measured for mental health trends, including anger and depression. They reconnected with researchers at age thirty-two, when their perceived stress levels were measured, and a final time at age forty-three, when the quality of their intimate relationships were measured.

In a finding that underscores in the importance of taking mental health seriously, subjects who measured high in anger and depression early in life were more likely to be stressed later and suffer poorer quality intimate relationships.

According to Matthew Johnson, one of the authors, “We assume or hope that high school experiences fade away and don’t necessarily resonate twenty-five years later. The fact that symptoms of depression and expressions of anger can endure over many large events in life shows how important it is to deal with mental health early. Sometimes, problems don’t just dissipate. How you grow and change over those early years becomes crucial to future happiness.”

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