UCLA LogoDealing with stressful situations is not everyone’s cup of tea. Some will put forth a brave front while others are paranoid. A new study by UCLA scientists has revealed that people seemingly become more depressed even during minor situations in part if they have encountered a prior adverse incident at an early stage of life or any time before. These two reasons tend to increase the sensitivity level of individuals to situations arising later in life.

The scientists found that persons who have been through parental loss or separation or any other grave issues where they suffered bouts of depression were more likely to experience the same phenomena in other minor stresses unlike people who were not exposed to these factors.

“We have known for a long time that some people are more likely to experience mental and physical health problems than others. For example, while some people get depressed following a relationship breakup, others do not. In this study, we aimed to identify factors that are associated with this phenomenon and to examine whether increased sensitivity to stress might be playing a role,” commented George Slavich, an assistant professor at the UCLA Cousins Center for Psychoneuroimmunology.

The study involved 100 individuals with depression, which included 26 men and 74 women who were interviewed thoroughly. They were questioned regarding the kind of adversity they went through at an early age, the number of depression episodes they faced and the latest stressful instances of their life. The outcome brought to light, that participants who had been through a parental loss or separation before the age of 18 and many earlier episodes of depression were more likely to manifest the latter even during less stressful events that they faced recently.

Furthermore, it came to fore that these influences were specific to stressors that included interpersonal loss. In a bid to validate this result, they found out that people who are exposed to early life problems eventually sustain a discouraging feeling about themselves and others.

These ideas seem to get activated with the pace of life stresses. Another line of thought could be that early life agony could create an effect on biological systems attached to depression. This may be put to effect by lessening the stage at which inflammation and other processes related to depression seem to accelerate.

Thoughts play a major role in stress outcomes. A simple situation like a friend not calling back may release a plethora of emotions in certain individuals. The thought processes we build seemingly affect our responses and reactions for various situations which are finally reflected through our health.

Scientists suggest that irrespective of past experiences a person must willingly take a step back and comprehend the event without any bias by the awareness one has got about it.

The study appears in the current online edition of the Journal of Psychiatric Research.