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Study: Short, Tall Soldiers Face Increased Risk In Depression

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US soldiers arrive at the site of a suicide attack. (credit: SHAH MARAI/AFP/Getty Images)

US soldiers arrive at the site of a suicide attack. (credit: SHAH MARAI/AFP/Getty Images)

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ATLANTA (CBS Atlanta) – Soldiers who are shorter or taller than the average male may have an increased risk for depression compared to other soldiers, a new study finds.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 10 U.S adults report that they suffer from depression.

“When people find themselves outliers for reasons beyond their control, like physical attributes, they face a challenge in addition to all the challenges average people face,” Valery Krupnik, a clinician at the mental health department of marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton in California, told LiveScience.

Krupnik, along with Mariya Cherkasova, a neuroscientist at McGill University, analyzed data in medical records of 169 men in between 20 and 29 years old that are currently serving active duty in the military. The common factor was that all 169 men were currently being treated for depression, LiveScience reports.

The researchers divided the men up based on their height. The first group was average height, which was between 5 feet 8 inches and 6 feet 1 inch. Anyone shorter than 5 feet 8 inches was in the shorter than average group, and anyone taller than 6 feet 1 inch was in the taller than average group.

The researchers found an association between height and increased risk of depression when they compared the shorter and taller groups to the group with men of average height.

“The perception of being shorter affects the psychological well-being of some men,” the researchers suggested, according to LiveScience. They say it is because shorter men see themselves as physically inferior to others.

“Tall men have higher expectations for success,” the researchers noted, LiveScience reports. The researchers suspect tall men will fall harder into depression if they fail.

Researchers hope their findings could help prevent depression in men of a certain height.

“The takeaway is for people with shorter or taller height to come to terms with their height, with the fact that they cannot change it,” Krupnik told LiveScience.

Krupnik knows other factors could lead to depression. This study was only done on men in the military so its findings remain uncertain if it applies to all men.

Krupnik hopes future research could be done in order to help men avoid depression.

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