The number of people living alone has not only doubled over the last three decades, thanks to the breakdown of the family system, but they are also experiencing heightened levels of depression, a study reveals. New research shows that the incidence of depression, as borne out by anti-depressant use, is almost 80 percent higher for those living alone compared to people living in a social or family group. Laura Pulkki-Råback and her team from Finnish Institute of Occupational Health followed 3,500 working-aged men and women for seven years, the journal BMC Public Health reported. They compared their living arrangements with psychosocial, socio-demographic and health risk factors, including smoking, heavy drinking and low physical activity, to antidepressant use, said a university statement. Pulkki-Råback explained: “Our study shows that people living alone have an increased risk of developing depression. Overall there was no difference in the increased risk of depression by living alone for either men or women.” For men, the biggest contributing factors included poor job climate, lack of support at the work place or in their private lives, and heavy drinking. For women a third of this risk was attributable to socio-demographic factors, such as lack of education and low income.