A recent study by Dr. Michael Freeman, a clinical professor at UCSF and an entrepreneur as well, was one of the first of its kind to link higher rates of mental health issues to entrepreneurship.
Of the 242 entrepreneurs surveyed, 49% reported having a mental-health condition. Depression was the No. 1 reported condition among them and was present in 30% of all entrepreneurs, followed by ADHD (29%) and anxiety problems (27%). That's a much higher percentage than the US population at large, where only about 7% identify as depressed.
More surprising was the incidence of mental health in the families of entrepreneurs: 72% said they either had mental-health problems themselves or in their immediate family.
A founder who has no history of mental illness from a family with no history either "is the exception, not the rule," Freeman said.
Also, from the study mentioned:
Little is known about mental health conditions among the families of entrepreneurs. Of some relevance, though, is the fact that previous research has shown that first and second-degree family members of bipolar probands are high achievers across several domains that are important for entrepreneurship. Higier and her colleagues found that when compared to bipolar probands and normal controls, the unaffected identical twins of people with bipolar disorder demonstrate superior cognitive and interpersonal traits that would seem highly important for entrepreneurship, including enhanced social ease, confidence, assertiveness, intelligence, verbal learning, verbal fluency, extraversion, sociability, optimism, and resilience .
Coryell et al. found that the first-degree relatives of bipolar probands, including relatives with bipolar spectrum conditions, had significantly higher educational and occupational achievement than the close family members of people with other mental health conditions . Other studies conducted over the last 100 years have reached similar conclusions [73, 74, 76, 90-92].
Creativity and innovativeness are foundational aptitudes of entrepreneurs. The close family members of bipolar probands have been shown to have high levels of creativity [23, 68]. First-degree relatives of people with bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, anorexia nervosa, and autism have been shown to be overrepresented in the scientific and artistic occupations . Male relatives of people with schizophrenia were shown to be overrepresented in a listing of prominent people .
Also, ALSO, from the study:
Reviewed in conjunction with the results displayed Figure 1, 72% of the entrepreneurs in this sample either reported a personal mental health history (49%) or were asymptomatic yet reported a family mental health history (23%). By contrast, 48% of the comparison participants in this sample reported a personal mental health history (32%) or were asymptomatic yet reported a family mental health history (16%).
There IS also a PRETTY BIG issue with it being a self-reporting study and with the composition and the design of the control group.
Control was created by surveying "76 MBA student and faculty pool participants, and 149 psychology students", then mixing those participants with self-reported "entrepreneurs".
Then, out of the total sum of 335 participants (meaning that 110 were actually pooled from "actual entrepreneurs") - 93 participants were declared as control because they answered "no" to the following question: "Have you ever been self-employed, a business founder, or a business co-founder (including non-profit businesses)?"
There are more psych and MBA students (132) among the "entrepreneurs" then "actual entrepreneurs" (110).
So all those mental health numbers may be coming from self-diagnosing psych students.
Which would kinda explain the fact that HALF OF THE CONTROL HAS A HISTORY OF MENTAL ISSUES AS WELL.