Closer emotional connections such as love and care can cut down the chances of depression in patients who have undergone transplant surgeries, a study has found.

Researchers at the Henry Ford Health System Behavioral Health Services studied the role of family care in minimizing depression in a sample of 74 liver transplant patients. They surveyed their primary caregivers before surgery and six months after transplantation.

The questionnaire was aimed to understand how close the caregivers were to the patient. Then the researchers divided the patients into two groups – one whose caregivers reported the most closeness and another group whose caregivers reported the least.

They found that symptoms of depression and anxiety decreased among the patients after their liver transplant, but the improvements were not as significant for those with an emotionally distant caregiver.

"If you live with someone who loves you, the quality of care they provide may be much better, they may be more encouraging, you may want to please them and recuperate faster so you can spend quality time with them," says author Anne Eshelman, of the Henry Ford Health System Behavioral Health Services.

"Caregivers who are not close may provide the basic requirements, but don't help give someone a reason to live and look to the future," she says in a press release issues on the results of the study which also suggests that emotional closeness was critical among male patients.

"Men who had an adequate number of support people, but did not have close support, were still depressed and anxious at follow-up, compared to those who had closer support," Eshelman says.

Other literature shows that women have wider support, more friends and family they are connected to than men, and if the primary support person is not that close, they probably rely on the other people such as girlfriends.