Rest-activity cycles in childhood and adolescent depression

Roseanne Armitage, Robert Hoffmann, Graham Emslie, Jeanne Rintelman, Jarrette Moore, Kelly Lewis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

67 Scopus citations


Objective: To quantify circadian rhythms in rest-activity cycles in depressed children and adolescents. Method. Rest-activity cycles were evaluated by actigraphy over five consecutive 24-hour periods in 100 children and adolescents, including 59 outpatients with major depressive disorder (MDD) and 41 healthy normal controls. Total activity, total light exposure, and time spent in light at more than 1,000 lux were averaged over the recording period for each participant. Time series analysis was used to determine the amplitude and period length of circadian rhythms in rest-activity. Results: Overall, adolescents with MDD had lower activity levels, damped circadian amplitude, and lower light exposure and spent less time in bright light than healthy controls. Among children, those with MDD showed lower light exposure and spent less time in bright light, but only depressed girls showed damped circadian amplitude. The sex differences were substantially greater in the MDD group than in the normal control group. Conclusions: These results confirm damped circadian rhythms in children and adolescents with MDD and highlight the influence of gender and age on these measures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)761-769
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2004


  • Childhood depression
  • Circadian rhythms
  • Gender
  • Rest-activity cycles

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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