Sleep debt and depression in female college students

Psychiatry Res. 2010 Mar 30;176(1):34-9. doi: 10.1016/j.psychres.2008.11.006. Epub 2010 Jan 15.


The objective of the study was to evaluate relationships between sleep habits and depressive symptoms. Pilot study data were collected about sleep schedules, related factors and depression in female college students to find whether their sleep schedules correlate with affective symptoms. In the subsequent main study, similar information was collected under more controlled conditions. Depression was measured using the CES-D (Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale) and HAM-D-3 (modified Hamilton Depression Rating Scale). Response rates were 31.3% of eligible students for the pilot survey and 71.6% for the main study. Both studies showed that about 20% of students reported weekday sleep debts of greater than 2 h and about 28% reported significantly greater sleep debt and had significantly higher depression scores (P<0.0001) than other students. Melancholic symptoms indicated by high CES-D scores (>24), were observed in 24% of students. Sleep problems explained 13% of the variance for both the CESD scale and the HAM-D-3 scale. Among female college students, those who report a sleep debt of at least 2 h or significant daytime sleepiness have a higher risk of reporting melancholic symptoms than others.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Antidepressive Agents / adverse effects
  • Caffeine / administration & dosage
  • Depression / complications*
  • Depression / drug therapy
  • Depression / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Personality Inventory
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Sleep / drug effects
  • Sleep / physiology*
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / etiology*
  • Students
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Universities
  • Young Adult


  • Antidepressive Agents
  • Caffeine