Depression Wellness Coaching

Risk Factors for Depression

          We know that there is more than one cause of depression, and depression is different for different people and there are multiple reasons for depression. Think of these causes as risk factors, most people have some of these but depressed people have many more.  They are divided into 3 main groups: Environmental, Personal, and Biological Factors.  Remember that there are more factors than are on this lis,t these are only the main/most common factors, and you may be depressed without any of the following factors.

Environmental Factors

Major Life Events.  A recent history of major life disruptions (such as death of a loved one, moving, divorce, financial setbacks, or job loss) is a risk factor for depression. The more severe  and numerous the events are, the stronger the risk.  Ongoing difficulties such as marital problems, hassles at work, and difficult relations with others also contribute.

Few Rewards.  Having too few positive experiences seems to predispose people to depression.  Some of the more important positive experiences include contributing in a positive way to others, feeling effective at something you do, rewarding social interactions, spending time in the outdoors, and having pleasurable time to yourself.  Being able to devote some of your time to causes or tasks that you find meaningful and challenging appears to be helpful in overcoming this factor.

Societal Factors.  The way our society is set up appears to predispose some people to depression.  Being on the receiving end of bigotry, crime, and injustice can contribute to a vulnerability to depression, as can being poor or powerless.  The higher rate of depression in women may be due in large part to societal factors.  These include excessive demands (career woman plus caregiver plus housekeeper plus...) and an expectation that women will care for others without attending to their own needs.

Isolation.  Having a restricted or unsupported social network is a risk factor for depression.  Unfortunately, depression usually reduces the drive for social interaction, which can make the isolation worse.

Biological Factors

Family History of Depression.  Depressed individuals are more likely than others to have had depressed relatives.  Some of the influence seems to be genetic.  This link is somewhat stronger in bipolar disorders than other types of depression.  Having family members who have committed suicide is also a risk factor.

Physical Ailments.  Some ailments and hormonal conditions (such as hypothyroidism) can cause symptoms of depression. A thorough physical examination is important to rule these out.  Other ailments may contribute to depression because they are stressful, painful, or change your life in unwelcome ways.

Drug-related Factors.  Alcohol, street drugs, and some medications can all contribute to depression.  Ask your physician about the effects of any prescription medication you may be taking.  Avoid alcohol and street drugs during depression

Personal Factors

Negative Thinking.  Depression produces a negative way of looking at the world (which, in turn, helps keep the depression going).  But negative thinking can also bring on the depression in the first place.  A tendency to focus on the negative, minimize the positive aspects of yourself and your life, and constantly predict the worst possible outcome of situations all increase the likelihood of becoming depressed.

Age.  A minor factor.  Depression is slightly more common between the ages of 25 and 44.  rates are lover after age 65.  Contrary to popular belief, menopause does not seem to be a risk factor for depression in women.

Sex.  Depression is more common in women than men.  This may be due to increased poverty and certain role expectations for women.  Women at home with more than two children under 15 are at somewhat higher risk .   Bipolar disorders are about equally common in males and females.


Marital Status.   Depression is somewhat more common among separated and divorced people.  Single males seem at slightly higher risk than married men, but married women are at a slightly higher risk than single women.

Previous Episode.  If you have had a major depression once before , your chances of developing it again increase.  Approximately one half of those who have had depression will experience it again.

Depression Wellness Coaching      (780) 893-5776     depwelcoa@gmail.com