People who prefer a mechanical typewriter or mechanical keyboard may find them to be healthier coping mechanisms than conventional keyboards, according to new research.
The findings could lead to the development of new therapies for the conditions.
The study of people with and without depression found that people who preferred a mechanical mechanical keyboard tended to have lower rates of depression, while those who preferred conventional keyboards tended to be more likely to have high rates of anxiety, according the study.
Researchers from the University of Washington and the University at Buffalo in New York say the results offer a potential avenue to develop treatments for depression and anxiety.
Mechanical keyboards were once thought to be a safe and simple way to type on, because they were so small and easy to manipulate.
However, the study suggests that many people with depression and other mental illnesses are more likely than others to be at high risk for developing depression or anxiety.
“When I look at my family and friends, I think, ‘Why are they not using a typewriter?'” says Sarah Miller, a clinical psychologist who led the study with her colleague, psychologist Matthew McLean.
“But when you look at people who have these conditions for a long time, it seems like they are happier, more productive, more socially connected, more social and they have fewer mental health problems.” “
We’ve seen that we’re all more likely when we are younger to be anxious and depressed,” Miller says.
“But when you look at people who have these conditions for a long time, it seems like they are happier, more productive, more socially connected, more social and they have fewer mental health problems.”
Previous research has suggested that people with more advanced forms of depression or bipolar disorder are more susceptible to depression, but it has not been clear whether the conditions themselves or other factors were responsible for this.
The new study compared the mental health of people who were using a mechanical mouse keyboard and those who were not.
Those who preferred the mechanical mouse had higher rates of the mental illness, such as anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts, than those who did not.
Miller and McLean compared people’s psychological wellbeing before, during and after using a computer keyboard.
Participants with depressive symptoms were asked to complete a questionnaire to determine whether they were at risk of developing the mental disorder, including the number of days they had used the computer in the past month, whether they had a history of depression and whether they believed they would experience depression or suicide.
The researchers also assessed people’s mood at the end of the study, which was used to calculate their mental health scores at the start of the survey.
Participants were asked whether they would be able to work or attend to their own health if they switched to a keyboard and the researchers also compared the number and severity of their symptoms before, after and after switching to the keyboard.
“The results indicate that people using mechanical keyboards are more at risk for depression than people using conventional keyboards,” the researchers say.
“People with more depressive symptoms are also more likely by design to report higher levels of depression.”
Miller says the findings show the importance of looking beyond the symptoms of depression.
“In our work, we’re trying to understand the processes that underlie depression, and we’ve found that our hypothesis about the nature of depression is that it is not just a person’s symptoms,” she says.
The research was published online in the journal Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience.
It was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health (R01HD061725, R01HD053762, R21HD063785, R24HD087176, R36HD042958 and R36H093183), the University Medical Center at the University Hospital of South Carolina and the John B. & Susan G. Komen for the Cure.
Miller says people with major depressive disorder may be more at greater risk of experiencing suicidal thoughts.
“This study suggests there is something going on there,” she said.
“We need to look at other psychological problems, such a anxiety disorder, a depressive disorder and a phobia.”
For more information about depression, visit the Mental Health Foundation.