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J Affect Disord. 1999 Apr;53(1):35-48.

Seasonal affective disorder and latitude: a review of the literature.

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Department of Biological Psychiatry, University Hospital Groningen, The Netherlands.



The aim of the study is to investigate the relationship between the prevalence of SAD and latitude.


An overview of the epidemiological literature on the prevalence of SAD is given and studies relevant for the latitudinal dependency of prevalence will be analyzed and discussed.


The mean prevalence of SAD is two times higher in North America compared to Europe. Over all prevalence studies, the correlation between prevalence and latitude was not significant. A significant positive correlation was found between prevalence and latitude in North America. For Europe there was a trend in the same direction.


The influence of latitude on prevalence seems to be small and other factors like climate, genetic vulnerability and social-cultural context can be expected to play a more important role. Additional controlled studies taking these factors into account are necessary to identify their influence.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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