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Parental reports of seasonal mood and behavior changes in children.

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  • 1Brown University School of Medicine, East Providence, Rhode Island.



The chief purpose of this study was to investigate the nature and prevalence of children's seasonal symptoms.


Parental reports of seasonal changes in six mood or behavioral symptoms (sleeping, eating, irritability, energy, withdrawal, and sadness) were surveyed for children living across the United States. The sample included 892 girls (mean age = 10.5 +/- 1.0 years) and 788 boys (mean age = 10.6 +/- 0.9 years), with a response rate of 46% for girls' parents and 39% for boys' parents.


At least one winter recurring symptom was reported in 48.5% of children, as compared with 9.1% in fall and 10.8% in spring. Winter symptoms were reported equally in girls and boys with one exception ("is tired"); age effects were found for three symptoms only in girls ("sleep more," "is tired," and "withdraws"). Regional effects showed more winter symptoms reports in northern zones than in southern zones.


Given the potential therapeutic benefit of light therapy in children with such seasonal patterns, careful assessment of seasonality is merited for children with winter mood and behavior problems.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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