A large study of people with hepatitis C virus (HCV) found high rates of depression and poor physical health, while those who were cured of the virus had a lower chance of depression. Publishing their findings in the journal Hepatology, researchers surveyed 4,781 patients at four large health care systems participating in the Chronic Hepatitis Cohort Study.

A total of 29.7 percent of the participants met the criteria for having depression and 24.6 percent were in poor physical health.

The researchers analyzed the responses to determine which variables made individuals likelier to have depression or poor physical health. The respective increased risks for developing the respective conditions, when comparing one demographic with another, were as follows: women versus men, 43 percent and 23 percent, meaning that women were 43 percent likelier than men to have depression and 23 percent likelier to be in poor physical health; white vs. black, 67 percent and 64 percent; not having a high school diploma vs. being college educated, 81 percent and 54 percent; unemployed vs. employed, 178 percent and 300 percent; having high life stressors vs. low life stressors, 144 percent and 64 percent; having low social support vs. high social support, 178 percent and 40 percent, and having high Charlson scores vs. having none, 58 percent and 112 percent. (The Charlson Comorbidity Index gives an estimate, based on age and various health conditions, on whether an individual is likely to live long enough to benefit from a particular medical intervention. Higher scores indicate a greater chance of dying.)

Being cured of hepatitis C lowered the chances of depression.

To read the study abstract, click here.