Study: Impact of Gratitude on depression, suicidal ideation, and self-esteem

By R. Ryan S Patel DO, FAPA OSU-CCS Psychiatrist

One definition of gratitude is a state of mind where one feels and expresses thankfulness consistently over time and across situations (1).

In a previous post, we reviewed the role of specific gratitude exercise on happiness, stress, and depression (2, 3).

A recent study looked at the relationship of a person’s gratitude levels on depression, suicidal-ideation, and self-esteem among college students.

What did the study involve?
• 814 college students, with a mean age of 20.13 years (4).

• Participants completed questionnaires measuring gratitude, depression, suicidal ideation, and self esteem (4).
• The relationship between these four factors was analyzed (4).

What did the results show? (4)
• Participants with higher levels of gratefulness tended to have a higher level of self-esteem (4).
• Higher self-esteem decreased suicidal-ideation (4).
• Participants with higher levels of gratefulness tended to be less depressed, which also reduced suicidal-ideation (4).

What are some caveats?
• This was a small study looking at correlations, which does not necessarily tell us about cause and effect (causation).
• Specific factors that increased the gratitude of participants was not examined.
• Individual responses may vary.

Where can I learn more about gratitude?

Here is a link on a specific gratitude exercise: http://u.osu.edu/emotionalfitness/2015/12/

Harvard’s link on gratitude exercise (click then scroll down the page):  http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/in-praise-of-gratitude

What are some resources to improve depression?

Counseling at the OSU Student Life Counseling and Consultation Service
Holiday stress article from the Mayo Clinic
Mindfulness and Body scan techniques at the OSU Wexner Medical Center
Depression information at the National Institute of Mental Health
Anonymous mental health screen
Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)

Could gratitude practices help you feel better?

Disclaimer: This article is intended to be informative only. It is advised that you check with your own physician/mental health provider before implementing any changes. With this article, the author is not rendering medical advice, nor diagnosing, prescribing, or treating any condition, or injury; and therefore claims no responsibility to any person or entity for any liability, loss, or injury caused directly or indirectly as a result of the use, application, or interpretation of the material presented.

References:

  1. Emmons, R. A. & Crumpler, C. A. (2000). Gratitude as a human strength:
    Appraising the evidence. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 19, 56–69.
  2. http://u.osu.edu/emotionalfitness/2015/12/
  3. Oleary K, Dockray S. The Effects of Two Novel Gratitude and Mindfulness Interventions on Well-Being. THE JOURNAL OF ALTERNATIVE AND COMPLEMENTARY MEDICINE. Volume 21, Number 4, 2015, pp. 243–245.
  4. Lin CC. The relationships among gratitude, self-esteem, depression, and suicidal
    ideation among undergraduate students.  Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, 2015, 56, 700–707. DOI: 10.1111/sjop.12252

Study: Men and Depression Treatment

By R. Ryan S Patel DO, FAPA OSU-CCS Psychiatrist

About 1 in 16 individuals experienced depression in a given year(1), impacting both men and women.

A recent survey of about 95,000 college students had interesting information about men and depression (2).

What did the study involve? (2)

  • 95,761 college students across 137 colleges and Universities across the United States.
  • 91% of the students were 18 to 29 years old.
  • This is a 30 minute survey asking a variety of questions regarding health, health related lifestyle, etc.
  • This also included questions about depression, overwhelming anxiety, receiving treatment, and suicidal ideation.
  • Survey has been conducted over several years.

What did the results show?

Similar percentage of male and female college students (30.8, 38.8%) reported feeling so depressed that they could not function in the past 12 months.

Similar percentage of males and females reported seriously considering suicide in the past 12 months (8.5, 9.6%).

However, fewer male college students reported getting treatment for depression than female college students (8.7 % male vs. 15.6% female).

Why might this be the case?

There are several possibilities. Some of them include:

  • Men can experience depression differently (3) than women and men may be more likely to feel very tired and irritable, and lose interest in their work, family, or hobbies, sleep difficulties as a result of depression (4).
  • Many men do not recognize, acknowledge, or seek help for their depression (4).
  • 3/4 of suicides in the United States are men (5).
  • Men tend to under utilize health care overall than women; and this may play a role in men dying sooner than women on average (5).

What is being done about men’s mental health on campus?

Increasing awareness might help. Click here to learn more about men’s health disparities.

What is being done to increase awareness about Men and mental health?

Are there any other helpful resources?

Anonymous Mental health screening.
Suicide screening prevention.
Movember
Men’s mental health at National Institute of Mental Health

Movember National Men’s Health Campaign
Article about how depression might impact men differently.
Disclaimer: This article is intended to be informative only. It is advised that you check with your own physician/mental health provider before implementing any changes. With this article, the author is not rendering medical advice, nor diagnosing, prescribing, or treating any condition, or injury; and therefore claims no responsibility to any person or entity for any liability, loss, or injury caused directly or indirectly as a result of the use, application, or interpretation of the material presented.
References:

  1. https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/prevalence/major-depression-among-adults.shtml
  2. American College Health Association. American College Health Association-National College Health Assessment II: Reference Group Executive Summary Spring 2016. Hanover, MD: American College Health Association; 2016.
  3. http://u.osu.edu/emotionalfitness/2015/11/
  4. http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data_access/Vitalstatsonline.htm
  5. https://us.movember.com/programs/cause

Improving your likelihood of antidepressant medication response

By R. Ryan S Patel DO, FAPA OSU-CCS Psychiatrist

As of 2014, about 15.7 million people in the US had at least 1 major depressive episode in the last year, and about two thirds of the individuals had a severe impairment in their ability to manage at home, work/school, or relationships with others (1).

Treatment options for major depression include counseling, medications, life-style, and other strategies. These options can be used alone or in combination with each other.

A recent study looked at a major factor impacting your response to antidepressant medication for major depression.

How do you define depression?

A major depressive episode is defined as an episode of depressed mood or loss of pleasure in daily activities lasting 2 weeks or longer in the past 12 months and at least some additional symptoms, such as problems with sleep, eating, energy, concentration, and self-worth (2).  Additionally there must be some impairment in a person’s ability to function at home, work, relationships or social settings.

What was the study? (3)

792 patients receiving usual care for depression in 83 clinics for at least six months between 2008 and 2010 (4).

How was depression measured?

Depression was measured using, Patient Health Questionnaire–9, a validated instrument to measure the severity and treatment response to depression (3,4).

Was there a key finding?

According to the study article, patients reporting fair or poor health were significantly less likely to improve depression compared with patients with good, very good, or excellent health (3).

What do the results mean?

In my practice, I often discuss the mental health benefits of healthy lifestyle habits such as healthy eating habits, healthy (not excessive) exercise, adequate sleep, avoidance of alcohol, illicit drugs; yoga, meditation, etc.

This study suggests that individuals suffering from Major Depression with good overall health had a better chance of benefiting from antidepressant medications than those with depression who reported fair or poor health.

In other words, while good overall health might help many people with depression, if you are still depressed, having good overall health improves your chances of responding to medications.

This is a small study and further studies would be helpful.

What are some resources regarding health improvement?

What are some of OSU’s campus resources that might help with reducing depression?

What are some resources regarding depression?

Counseling at the OSU Student Life Counseling and Consultation Service
• Mindfulness and Body scan techniques at the OSU Wexner Medical Center
Depression information at the National Institute of Mental Health
Anonymous mental health screen
Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)

Disclaimer: This article is intended to be informative only. It is advised that you check with your own physician/mental health provider before implementing any changes. With this article, the author is not rendering medical advice, nor diagnosing, prescribing, or treating any condition, or injury; and therefore claims no responsibility to any person or entity for any liability, loss, or injury caused directly or indirectly as a result of the use, application, or interpretation of the material presented.

References:

  1. Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality. (2015). Behavioral health trends in the United States: Results from the 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (HHS Publication No. SMA 15-4927, NSDUH Series H-50). Retrieved from http://www.samhsa.gov/data/
  2. American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.).
  3. Rossom RC, et. al.  Predictors of Poor Response to Depression Treatment in Primary Care.  Published online: July 15, 2016. Psychiatric Services in Advance (doi: 10.1176/appi.ps.201400285)
  4. Kroenke K, Spitzer RL, Williams JBW. The PHQ-9: Validity of a Brief Depression Severity Measure.J Gen Intern Med. 2001 September; 16(9): 606–613.