CAPTAIN OBVIOUS AND DEPRESSION IN THE CITY

I am often accused by close friends and, more so, by members of my family of overstating the facts in conversations. This is possibly due to the degree of time I have spent alone while researching new avenues of possible employment. My son summed up one of my monologues, after listening patiently while I reviewed whatever brilliant piece of enlightening information I had gleaned by declaring, “Thank you, Captain Obvious!”

 It was a humbling moment. And, one which made me aware of the fact that others in my circle probably find me incredibly boring at times – particularly when I have had too much time to dwell upon my predicament. Needless to say, it’s enlightening yet depressing to learn.

 In my intellectual wanderings I ran across a study regarding depression and downward mobility that was published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health that shows that findings suggest that women’s risk of depression is tied to social class at birth, while men’s risk of depression is more closely linked to social status at midlife. This was one fact-finding mission that I wasn’t going to share with others until I could condense it into some sort of a terse statement that wouldn’t make me seem like, well, Captain Obvious.

 Further reading in the article revealed that the study was conducted in England where researchers followed the lives of 503 men and women who were born in 1947 to mothers living in Newcastle upon Tyne in the northeast portion of that country. The results showed that overall more women than men were depressed at age 50, and twice as many women as men reported moving down in social class since birth. However, men who became downwardly mobile were 3.5 times more likely to be depressed than women who became downwardly mobile.

Now, the first question that came to mind was: Who on earth funded a study that lasted over fifty years? Particularly a study about depression in a industrial city in England? And, how much did a study of that magnitude cost? Duh! I could have told them (at great length and with grandiose degrees of repetition) that people who are downwardly mobile (can you say unemployed?) become depressed – for a helluva lot less money than was spent on the study!

Captain Obvious, indeed.

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