Objectives: To study seasonal variations in self-rated health and depressive symptoms in adolescent girls and possible differences in reported health with regard to use of medications.
Method: The SF-36 questionnaire was completed by 1250 girls with a mean age of 17 years, who visited a health centre in the course of one year. From January to July inclusive, depressive symptoms in 453 of the participants were also assessed using MADRS-S. Age and regular medication data were recorded.
Results: Significantly better mental health and less depressive symptoms were reported during the summer, than in winter months. Seasonality was more related to the SF-36 mental, than physical health subscales. Respondents treated with hormonal contraceptives (HCs) only and those not taking any medication scored better on several SF-36 subscales, than girls on antidepressives and other medications. Respondents taking HCs tended to report better physical health and less depressive symptoms on MADRS-S than those taking no medication.
Conclusions: Adolescent girls showed seasonal variations in self-reported health and depressive symptoms, with more symptoms during winter months. HC users tended to report better physical health and less depressive symptoms than those on no medication. The high prevalence of suspected depression during the winter months deserves attention.