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Monday, October 31, 2011

Smoking and Depression

Dr. Ian Colman at the University of Ottawa has carried out a sophisticated analysis of predictors of a negative course using data collected in a longitudinal Canadian study. The intention was to identify indicators of negative outcome, as determined by subsequent recurrences of depression. Not surprisingly, past episodes were predictive of future ones and a psychological construct "mastery" was also predictive, however, a very strong association was found between smoking and negative course. This adds to mounting evidence linking smoking to depression. In the past there has been a tendency, for some reason, to treat the association between depression and smoking as an epiphenomenon, perhaps reflecting shared genetic vulnerability. But, this study adds weight to the idea that depression and smoking are a bad mix. Contrary to the beliefs of some smokers, who feel that smoking makes them feel better, smoking may be contributing to deterioration in mental health over the longer term. A copy of the paper may be found here.

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