Recent research into the biology of depression has shed light on genetic factors contributing to the disorder. As with much health research, however, there is an inherent risk that a captivating headline can lead to misunderstanding.
An article published in the the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology (1) explores how we understand some of the public messages we receive about research into the biology of depression.
The study found that those seeking help for depression are less hopeful and feel they have less agency the more strongly they believe that depression is simply a genetic problem.
The article reports that when people are educated about the malleability of genes and the brain, they tend to feel more hopeful about their chances of overcoming their depression.
As people come to realize that depression can be treated, they can be expected to be more likely to try out interventions which have been shown to be widely effective, including different kinds of talk therapy.