Rates of seasonal affective disorder in children and adolescents

Susan E. Swedo, Joanna D. Pleeter, Daniel M. Richter, Cara L. Hoffman, A. J. Allen, Susan D. Hamburger, Erick H. Turner, Emily M. Yamada, Norman E. Rosenthal

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Abstract

Objective: The authors estimated the frequency of seasonal effective disorder in children and adolescents and examined the relationship of this rate to age and pubertal status. Method: A modified version of the Seasonal Pattern Assessment Questionnaire was distributed to 2,267 students at a middle school and a high school in a suburb of Washington, D.C. A case diagnosis was made if the respondent scored over 18 and also indicated that the change of seasons was at least a 'pretty bad' problem. Results: A total of 1,871 questionnaires (82.5%) were returned. Sixty probable cases of seasonal effective disorder (3.3%) were identified among the 1,835 surveys analyzed. Age was directly correlated with the frequency of seasonal effective disorder, and the rate was higher in postpubertal girls. Differences between the subjects with and without identified cases of seasonal effective disorder were seen in the symptom endorsement patterns, particularly for 'feel worst,' 'least energy,' 'most irritable,' and 'socialize least.' Conclusions: These pilot data suggest that between 1.7% and 5.5% of 9-19-year-old children may have seasonal effective disorder. Further research is warranted, particularly that which examines the relationship between seasonal effective disorder and puberty.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1016-1019
Number of pages4
JournalAmerican Journal of Psychiatry
Volume152
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1995

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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    Swedo, S. E., Pleeter, J. D., Richter, D. M., Hoffman, C. L., Allen, A. J., Hamburger, S. D., Turner, E. H., Yamada, E. M., & Rosenthal, N. E. (1995). Rates of seasonal affective disorder in children and adolescents. American Journal of Psychiatry, 152(7), 1016-1019. https://doi.org/10.1176/ajp.152.7.1016