Everyone loves to be around someone who is naturally happy and joyful. He or she tends to have a natural attraction. In fact, one study recently found that the good moods of friends are infectious among teens and that the moods of others can actually influence a teen’s mental health. Fortunately, it was the positive moods of others versus depressed moods that had the most influence.
The study analyzed the moods of 2,000 high school students and how those moods affected each of the teens. In general, the study revealed that a positive mood seemed to have a greater impact than a low mood, spreading through groups of teens quickly. Depressed moods did not have so much of an influence on other adolescents.
The study also found that having many friends who are generally in a good mood can even reduce the chances of that teen developing depression. Furthermore, having many friends who are generally in a good mood can also help double the likelihood of recovering from depression.
It should be clear that the study was not able to show a cause and effect type of relationship between the good moods of others and a teen’s mental health. However, experts were able to form an association between the two factors.
Teens are easily influenced by their peers primarily because they are going through so much social development at this stage. During adolescence, teens tend to turn to friends and peers for their opinions versus parents or siblings. This might explain some of the findings of the study and why peers might be influencing a teen in this way. Further research might explore the differences in the way that a family’s mood affects a teen versus the good moods of friends.
Nonetheless, this study reveals some treatment possibilities for mental health workers. For instance, a school counselor might encourage a student who tends to be in a low mood to spend time with a friend who is generally happy. A school counselor might also want to facilitate therapeutic groups in which she is helping to lift the mood of a classroom full of teens. Furthermore, encouraging teens to participate in social clubs, recreational activities, and large social networks might help to reduce levels of depression.
This study, published August 18 of this year, was able to explore a new social factor that might play a role in depression. Experts have known for some time that social factors, such as having someone to talk to, feeling alone, or experiencing abuse in childhood, can all contribute to the development of depression. However, this study explores the effects of friends on teens and how teens’ moods can influence one another.
If you suspect that you’re teen may be experiencing symptoms of depression, contact a mental health provider. He or she can assess your teen and then determine the best form of treatment. You might also encourage your teen to spend time with others who are happy, joyful, and satisfied with their lives.