In-person interactions have very good effects on older people.

(Mirror Daily, United States) – After countless experiments, medical experts have reached the conclusion that face-to-face contact is the best therapy for depression. This means of communication has proven itself particularly useful for older people, scientists have stated.

The study was conducted over a period of six years from 2004 until 2010 and it saw the participation of 11,000 people with ages 50 or above. Researchers started from the premise that any communication is good communication, but their hypothesis was eventually contradicted by the final findings of the research.

Participants were asked to become actively involved in various types of interactions, be they face-to-face interactions, discussions via emails, phones or letters. At the end of the experiment, scientists have noticed that depression rates were significantly higher among participants, who only engaged in face-to-face interactions on very rare occasions.

Researchers checked participants’ condition at a later data, after two years, and they have discovered that 12 percent of the people who preferred online communications suffered from one form or another of depression. At the opposite pole, only 8 percent participants, who engaged in in-person contacts once or twice a month, suffered from the same condition.

The situation was a lot better for participants, who had frequent face-to-face conversations. Depressions signs were visible only among 7 percent participants, who bore weekly in-person conversations.

Although the current research is a good starting point for additional studies, scientists acknowledge that there is no direct link between depression and face-to-face conversations. They think there is an association between the time that people spend with beloved persons, but they would like to further study this aspect.

According to Caitlin Coyle from the Yale School of Public Health in New Haven, scientists need to determine whether depression is really a consequence of the lack of in-person interaction or the other way. She believes some people tend to isolate themselves when they suffer from depression and in this case, depression would be the cause, not the consequence of the lack of face-to-face conversations.

The findings of the current study were published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

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