Smoking increases depression in women, Australian study reveals

October 1, 2008

A new study reveals that women who smoke are at greater risk of developing major depressive disorder. The study has been published today the British Journal of Psychiatry.

Australian researchers from the University of Melbourne and Geelng's Barwon Health assessed a group of 1043 Australian women, whose health had been monitored for a decade as part of the Geelong Osteoporosis Study.

On their ten year follow up participants were given an additional test of a psychiatric assessment.

"It was at this point we were able to determine if depression had developed and investigate whether or not smoking pre-dated the onset of depression" said University of Melbourne researcher, Associate Professor Julie Pasco, who led the study within the Clinical and Biomedical Sciences at Barwon Health.

Results revealed that women with depression were more likely to have been smokers than those without depression. Compared with non-smokers, the likelihood for developing depression more than doubled for heavy smokers (those who smoked more than 20 cigarettes a day).

The researchers also examined longitudinal data to determine the risk of women developing a new major depressive disorder over time.

A total of 671 women with no history of major depressive disorders were studied. Of the 87 women who were smokers, 13 (15%) went on to develop major depressive disorder.

However, among 584 non-smokers, just 38 (6.5%) developed major depressive disorder during a decade of follow-up.

"This shows us that non smokers were at lower risk for developing major depressive disorder, suggesting that smoking may play a role in the development of the disease in women, " Associate Professor Pasco said.

Previous research has shown that smoking is a risk factor for depression. There is also increasing evidence that smoking may aggravate mental illness or contribute to its onset.

However, most previous studies have involved short time frames, and this study is the first to investigate smoking using longitudinal data that extends over a ten-year period.

The researchers observed that depression is a leading contributor to the global disease burden, and called for greater efforts to encourage smokers to quit.

Source: University of Melbourne

Explore further: Depression can fuel heart disease in midlife women: study

Related Stories

Could caffeine help prevent dementia?

October 3, 2016

A new study suggests a significant relationship between caffeine and dementia prevention, though it stops short of establishing cause and effect.

Recommended for you

Want to exercise more? Get yourself some competition

October 27, 2016

Imagine you're a CEO trying to get your employees to exercise. Most health incentive programs have an array of tools—pamphlets, websites, pedometers, coaching, team activities, step challenges, money—but what actually ...

Sleep loss tied to changes of the gut microbiota in humans

October 25, 2016

Results from a new clinical study conducted at Uppsala University suggest that curtailing sleep alters the abundance of bacterial gut species that have previously been linked to compromised human metabolic health. The new ...


Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

not rated yet Oct 01, 2008
Association is not causation. Smoking is among other things a way of coping with stress so it may be that smoking is an indicator of problems not a cause.
1 / 5 (1) Oct 07, 2008
Women are more sensitive to such things as tobacco and alcohol in the first place. Honestly, i hate seeing a woman smoke.. - my favorite web site

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.