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A high level of conflict in a person's primary relationship(s) is a big risk factor for depression. Primary relationships include relationships with one's spouse, parents, close friends, children or other relatives. Having an unstable living situation is also a risk factor. People who move around constantly or those who have conflict-ridden relationships with roommates or landlords are more likely to experience clinical depression than those whose living arrangements are steady. Poverty, lack of exercise, and lack of hobbies are also risk factors. Lacking a non-parental very important person - a confidante, best friend or soul mate - is also a risk factor. Social isolation - living alone or lacking meaningful relationships with others - is thought by some to be the single biggest risk factor. Genetics also play a role: some aspects of emotional stability are inherited.
Drs Holmes & Rahe after a study into life events came up with the Holmes & Rahe Scale which is commonly accepted as an idicator to the predisposition of stress crossing into a depressive style illness.
The scale discusses 43 main life events, whch impact on people's stress levels in different ways, and as you progressivley worked up the scale, the stress level, increased, and thus the chances of distress increased.
The two drs also came up with a scoring system, which indicated the probability of the subject suffering from a major stress reaction or associated illness like depression.
The top 5 involve the loss of a signicant other, or being removed from a social network, which would make coping or dealing with a stressful situation easier, for example the top of the list is the death of a spouse, and this loss would be catastrophic to the surviving spouse, as not only have they lost a confidant, but they also have to deal with the trauma of losing a loved one, and the psychological issues this may bring.
This scale also works on association, by that I mean, if you have had a previous experience of a life event, for example moving house, and it was a good experience, then this association would help with the person dealing with the event later in life, it may not be as stressful to them as indicated, whereas if the experience of moving house was especially stressful, e.g. in the case of someone fleeing domestic abuse, this may have the opposite effect, and increase the effect of the situation on that person to the point an illness may develop.
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