Want to Keep Depression at Bay? Catch a Play or See Some Art

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If you want to lower your risk of depression as you age, amp up your engagement in cultural activities like trips to theaters, museums, and art galleries, says a study conducted by researchers at University College London and published in the British Journal of Psychiatry.

The researchers analyzed data on more than 2,000 people from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing, which assesses health, social, and economic factors and well-being in adults over age 50. The researchers focused on information about cultural engagement and depression symptoms collected from questionnaires and interviews over a 10-year period.

Results of the study suggest that older adults who attend films, plays, or exhibits at least once a month have a 48 percent lower risk of depression than people who don’t attend cultural events, and those who attend these events every few months have a 32 percent lower risk. When the data was adjusted for factors like age, gender, health, economic status, education, and contact with family and friends, the benefits of cultural activities remained clear.

Sourced from: British Journal of Psychiatry