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Depression can be set off by poor family relations


Depression is a devastating condition which seems to have multi-factorial causes. Aside from genetics, certain drugs, malnutrition, unhealthy lifestyles, major life events, death of a loved one, and physical, sexual, or emotional abuse researchers say family relationships can also influence depression.

It has been reported by Iowa State University that tensions with mothers and siblings may lead to midlife depression. The effects of tensions with mothers and siblings on depression have been observed to be similar to associations found between tensions with spouses and depression.

Researcher Megan Gilligan, who is an assistant professor of human development and family studies, led this study. She has said there has generally been an assumption that relationships with your parents and siblings are left behind as you grow older and more independent. However, the nature of these relationships is actually carried with you throughout life.


Gilligan says that it is very important to understand the consequences which negative relationships have on our psychological well-being. At midlife siblings often get back together to help care for their parents. Family relationships are vulnerable to new tensions and discord at this time.

Midlife tensions are seen by Gilligan as often being due to difficulties with a romantic partner or spouse. However, there may also be discord with siblings and parents at this time in life. These tensions may also influence depression.

This study has been published in the journal Social Sciences. The vital significance of relations with family members for well-being has been recognized by researchers. We now have a more in depth understanding of family relationships and their association with psychological well-being at midlife. In order to nurture healthy psychological states of being at mid-life an understanding of family dynamics is significant.

Dr Harold Mandel