The general mood of your friendship circle can have a huge difference on your own mental wellbeing, according to new research.
Researchers analysed data from more than 2,000 students who were asked to talk about their best friends. They were all then screened again six months to one year later.
And the results suggested that a group's mood can be socially contagious.
The study, published in the Royal Society Open Science, reports:
For US adolescents, the greater number of worse mood friends they have the more likely they are to get worse in mood and the less likely they are to get better, and vice versa for better mood friends.
The study distinguishes low mood from depression, which they reportedly found not to spread among friends.
The study states:
[The result suggest that] both better and worse moods are contagious, but while better mood is contagious enough to push individuals over the boundary from depressed to not depressed, worse mood is not contagious enough to push individuals into becoming depressed.
The study’s lead author Robert Eyre, a doctoral student at the University of Warwick’s Center for Complexity Science, told Health that this contagion is simply a “normal empathetic response that we’re all familiar with, and something we recognise by common sense”.