Genetic “protection” against depression was no match for pandemic stress

But other factors appear to predict psychological resilience in study of first-year college students, adding to options for identifying anyone who might need more support under stress

December 16, 2023

Living through a historic pandemic while handling the stress of the first year of college sent one-third of students in a new study into clinical depression. That’s double the percentage seen in previous years of the same study.

And while certain genetic factors appeared to shield first-year students in pre-pandemic years from depression, even students with these protective factors found themselves developing symptoms in the pandemic years.

In fact, much of the overall rise in student depression during the pandemic was among young women with this kind of “genetic resilience.”

But the research has a silver lining.

By studying these students’ experiences and backgrounds in depth and over time, scientists may have discovered a way to go beyond genetics to predict which students might be more or less vulnerable to stress-related depression.

Read the full article at Michigan Neuroscience Institute »

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