Forbes May 24, 2024
Anuradha Varanasi

A new study of more than 700,000 people living in Finland found that mental illnesses like depression, anxiety, and eating disorders could potentially be transmitted socially within adolescent peer groups.

“We found an association between having peers diagnosed with a mental disorder during adolescence and an increased risk of receiving a mental disorder diagnosis later in life,” the researchers wrote in the JAMA Psychiatry study that was published on May 22, 2024. “There was a higher risk when multiple diagnosed individuals were in the peer network. Of the mental disorders examined, the risk was greatest for mood, anxiety, and eating disorders.”

The team hypothesized that several mechanisms could be involved if mental disorders might be transmitted socially via peer groups....

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