High prevalence of self-reported winter depression in a Swedish county

Psychiatry Clin Neurosci. 2005 Dec;59(6):666-75. doi: 10.1111/j.1440-1819.2005.01435.x.


The prevalence of winter depression was unknown in Sweden, therefore prevalence figures of seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and subsyndromal SAD (S-SAD) were estimated. Age and gender differences, prevalence in the group of non-responders and some psychometric qualities of the Seasonal Pattern Assessment Questionnaire (SPAQ) were calculated. A modified version of the SPAQ was sent to a random sample of 2500 persons (response rate 66.3%, n=1657) between 18 and 64 years residing in Dalarna, a county in central Sweden. The sample was proportionally stratified according to age, gender and home municipality. The prevalence of winter SAD was estimated at 8% and S-SAD at 10.8%. It was approximately twice as common among women and younger persons. A total of 3.1% reported seasonal problems to be severe or disabling and 19.3% that everyday life was negatively affected. Experiencing seasonally changing depressive symptoms was common in the population. Factor analysis of the Global Seasonal Score resulted in one factor and the internal consistency was 0.88 (Cronbach's alpha). The results indicate that self-reported recurrent depression during winter is common in Sweden and should therefore receive more attention from health care authorities.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Body Weight / physiology
  • Data Interpretation, Statistical
  • Education
  • Factor Analysis, Statistical
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Marriage
  • Middle Aged
  • Odds Ratio
  • Seasonal Affective Disorder / epidemiology*
  • Seasons
  • Sex Factors
  • Sleep / physiology
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Sweden / epidemiology