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Visits to the cinema and other cultural activities protect against depression

Visits to the cinema and other cultural activities protect against depression


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How can we protect ourselves from depression in old age?

Can our cultural activities protect us from the development of depression? When we go to the movies, spend a few hours in a museum, or watch a play, experts say it can really reduce the risk of depression in old age.

In their current study, scientists from University College London found that cultural engagement and leisure activities can protect against depression. The doctors published the results of their study in the English-language journal "British Journal of Psychiatry".

How did cultural activities impact?

For their investigation, the experts analyzed the data from more than 2,000 adults over the age of 50, which came from the so-called English Longitudinal Study of Aging (ELSA). The researchers found that when people went to exhibitions, watched movies, or went to the theater at least once a month, the likelihood of developing depression was 48 percent lower. If the participants only engaged in cultural activities every few months, the risk reduction was only 32 percent.

Cultural activities bring significant benefits

Even after considering other factors that can affect a person's tendency to depression (age, gender, health, and physical activity), the researchers found that cultural activities are still of significant benefit to mental wellbeing. In general, people are aware of the benefits that, for example, a healthy diet or physical activity bring them. However, very few people know about the benefits of cultural activities, the doctors explain.

More research is needed

The same relationship was found between cultural engagement and depression among people with high and low wealth and different levels of education. The only difference was the frequency of participation. The results are promising, but such activities alone do not help treat depression, the experts say. Successful treatment requires an approach that is based on the use of talk therapies and supplemented by the use of drugs, especially when older people develop more severe depression. Further research on this important area of ​​mental health in old age should be carried out, the doctors demand. (as)

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