Secular trend in unipolar depression: a hypothesis

Donna E. Giles, Howard P. Roffwarg, David J. Kupfer, A. John Rush, Melanie M. Biggs, Barbara A. Etzel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


To address the observation of a secular trend in the incidence of major depression, we have evaluated prevalence of unipolar depression in first-degree relatives of unipolar depressed probands, all of whom were studied in the sleep laboratory. A threshold value of reduced (≤65.0 min) or non-reduced (>65.0 min) REM latency was used to define groups for both parents and siblings. Unipolar depression occurred at the same rate in both reduced REM latency siblings (57.1%) and parents (66.7%). Siblings with non-reduced REM latency had a higher rate of depression (36.8%) than non-reduced REM latency parents (0.0%). Implications for biological and environmental factors associated with liability for unipolar depression are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)71-75
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of affective disorders
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1989


  • Family
  • Polysomnogram
  • Unipolar depression

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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