Having people on whom we can rely and who let us know that they care about, value, and love us helps us cope with stress. Researchers have found that social support is indeed a buffer against many illnesses, ranging from peptic ulcer to heart disease. Having more social support is also related to psychological well-being and a lower probability of mental illness. Studies of social networks have shown that those with a larger network friends and family members are less likely to experience psychological distress, particularly depression.
… These findings are not just related to the fact that depressed people tend to isolate themselves once they become depressed. In fact, research has found that having fewer close friends, a smaller social network, and less supportive relationships usually predates the first depressive episode. The results of these studies are striking. For example, people who report low levels of social support are thirteen times more likely to go on to suffer from a major depression in their lifetimes, and women who lack a confiding relationship with an intimate are three times more likely to become depressed when faced with a stressful life event.
- pg. 153, When Someone You Love Is Depressed – Laura Rosen & Xavier Amador, ISBN 978-0-684-83407-8