Teens Can “Catch” Emotions From Peers According to New Study

The study found that negative emotions are more contagious than positive ones - Image Source: Twitter

TEENAGERS can “catch” emotions from their peers, and negative feelings are more contagious, according to a new study by leading UK universities.

According to new research led by Britain’s Oxford and Birmingham universities, “emotional contagion” can be passed between teenagers in groups. If one teen is experiencing negative emotions, their peers can subconsciously “catch” them the study claims.

Researchers asked two musical groups involving teenagers aged 15-19 to keep a diary recording daily moods and social interactions while they toured abroad in 2018. Analysing the interactions and emotional levels recorded by the 79 teens over the course of months, researchers were able to make bold new claims about how young people influence each other’s emotions.

“Our study shows conclusively that individuals are affected by how others around them are feeling. Mood is contagious, and though both positive and negative moods are ‘caught’, bad moods are more potent,” said Dr. Per Block, of Oxford University, one of the study’s authors.

The study also found that “moody” teens, those more likely to display negative emotions, were no less popular among their peers than those with more positive feelings.

“We need to be aware of mood contagion and make sure the right support and services is given to schools and communities, and offering help to adolescents who are experiencing negative mood states,” said Vivian Hill, of the British Psychological Society.


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Written by

Oisin Sweeney

Oisin is an Irish writer based in Seville, the sunny capital of Andalucia. After starting his working life as a bookseller, he moved into journalism and cut his teeth as a reporter at one of Ireland's biggest news websites. Since joining Euro Weekly News in November, he has enjoyed covering the latest stories from Seville, Spain and further afield - with special interests in crime, cybersecurity, and European politics. Anyone who can pronounce his name first try gets a free cerveza...

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