The study, which took place in Finland, was designed to examine whether there was a relationship between living arrangements and anti-depressant usage in working people.
Lead scientist Dr Laura Pulkki-Raback, from the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, said: “Our study shows that people living alone have an increased risk of developing depression.”
One in three Britons and Americans live alone- a figure that has doubled within the last three years.
According to the study, people who live alone are 80% more likely to take anti-depressants than those who live with other people.
Women who live alone are more likely to take anti-depressants if they live in poor housing conditions and men who live alone are more likely to be taking anti-depressants if they have a lack of social support.
Dr Pulkki-Raback admitted that the study was flawed because the people who were actually more likely to suffer from depression were those who were least likely to complete the study.
The reason why people who live alone suffer a greater risk of depression is mostly unknown, but researchers suggest factors such as feelings of alienation, inability to trust or stress from difficult events are likely to play a significant role.
Findings from the study are published in the online journal BMC Public Health.
If you would like to find out how counselling can help people suffering from depression, please visit our Depression page.
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