Dimensional measurement of seasonal variation in mood and behavior

Psychiatry Res. 1991 Dec;39(3):269-84. doi: 10.1016/0165-1781(91)90093-5.


Recent epidemiologic studies have found that the behaviors that characterize seasonal affective disorder (SAD) show seasonal variation in 92%-95% of the general population, suggesting that seasonal variation in behavior and mood is a continuous, dimensional variable extending throughout the general population, defined at the upper extreme by SAD. Research into population seasonality will require a dimensional measure of seasonal variation in mood and behavior that produces a broad, finely graded distribution of seasonality scores sensitive to individual differences throughout the entire range of scores. Accordingly, the Inventory of Seasonal Variation (ISV) was developed as such a measure. This study demonstrated that the ISV has high internal structural validity and is highly sensitive to individual differences in seasonality across its entire range of scores in the normal population. This latter characteristic is not shared by other existing measures of seasonality. Initial external validity of the ISV was supported in that the mean of ISV scores of a SAD sample was found to lie at the 97th percentile of the normal population of scores. Analysis of ISV scores revealed that a winter pattern of seasonality was reported by over 95% of subjects, a pattern that was more pronounced in women than men, while a summer type of seasonality was reported by only 0.6% of the general population.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Depressive Disorder / diagnosis*
  • Depressive Disorder / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Personality Inventory / statistics & numerical data*
  • Psychometrics
  • Reference Values
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Seasonal Affective Disorder / diagnosis*
  • Seasonal Affective Disorder / psychology
  • Seasons*