Can Sensitivity to Common Smells Sniff Out Depression, Anxiety?
Sensitivity to specific common odors correlates with symptoms of depression or anxiety, new research shows. A study of more than 400 participants showed that symptoms of anxiety were associated with heightened awareness of floral scents or kitchen smells, while depression was linked to increased awareness of social odors including "good" and "bad" smells of other people. "The assessment of meta-cognitive abilities may be a useful tool in assessing depressive, anxiety, and social anxiety symptoms," study investigator Cinzia Cecchetto, PhD student, postdoctoral researcher, Department of General Psychology, University of Padua, Italy, told Medscape Medical News. The findings were published online April 13 in the Journal of Affective Disorders.
@ayra Previous studies have shown a strong relationship between reduced odor detection and symptoms of depression, with less clear evidence of a link between olfactory perception and symptoms of anxiety, Cecchetto said. However, few studies have investigated to what extent individuals with symptoms of anxiety or depression are aware of, or pay attention to, odors in their environment, she added. The study included 429 healthy participants (76.9% women, aged 18 to 45 years) recruited through social media. The age cut-off was 45 because evidence shows that olfactory perceptions start to decline at that time of life, Cecchetto noted. Participants completed psychological questionnaires, including the Beck Depression Inventory-II, the Beck Anxiety Inventory, and the Liebowitz Social Anxiety Scale.