Quitting city life for the suburbs could make you depressed, new study claims
- Suburban Cities offer more chance of social interactions, the study claims
For those fed up with hectic city centres, it seems an ideal solution to move to the suburbs for a quieter life and bigger home.
But once there, happiness may not always be on the cards, according to a study.
Those living in sprawling suburbs are at greater risk of depression as having fewer people around cuts the chance to socialise and gain a sense of community which boosts wellbeing.
Researcher Dr Karen Chen, of Yale University, US, said: ‘People tend to spend more time in their cars driving off to things and not necessarily at local shops, restaurants and cafes, as they do in cities.’
Those who have moved to suburban areas could be risking their mental health by moving
Academics at Yale and Aarhus University in Denmark used satellite images and AI to map all built-up areas in the Scandinavian country over a 30-year period.
They analysed the location of around 75,000 residents diagnosed with depression in that period along with 750,000-plus people of the same age without the condition.
The conclusion was that someone living in suburbia had an estimated 10 to 15 per cent higher risk of suffering depression than an inner-city dweller.
The research also found that a combination of high-rise buildings and low-density housing was linked to the lowest risk of depression for city-dwellers.
It added that those living in buildings more than 10 metres tall containing flats were generally no more likely to be depressed than those in lower buildings. Part of the reason could be the greater number of social interactions which are possible.
The study in the journal Science Advances is also likely to broadly apply in the UK.