Variability of activity patterns across mood disorders and time of day

BMC Psychiatry. 2017 Dec 19;17(1):404. doi: 10.1186/s12888-017-1574-x.


Background: Few actigraphy studies in mood disorders have simultaneously included unipolar (UP) and bipolar (BD) depression or BD mixed states as a separate subgroup from mania. This study compared objectively measured activity in UP, BD depression, mania and mixed states and examined if patterns differed according to time of day and/or diagnostic group.

Methods: Eighty -eight acutely admitted inpatients with mood disorders (52 UP; 18 mania; 12 BD depression; 6 mixed states) underwent 24 hours of actigraphy monitoring. Non-parametric analyses were used to compare median activity level over 24 h (counts per minute), two time series (64-min periods of continuous motor activity) in the morning and evening, and variability in activity across and within groups.

Results: There was no between-group difference in 24-h median level of activity, but significant differences emerged between BD depression compared to mania in the active morning period, and between UP and mania and mixed states in the active evening period. Within-group analyses revealed that UP cases showed several significant changes between morning and evening activity, with fewer changes in the BD groups.

Conclusions: Mean activity over 24 hours has limited utility in differentiating UP and BD. In contrast, analysis of non-linear variability measures of activity at different times of day could help objectively distinguish between mood disorder subgroups.

Trial registration: Identifier: NCT01415323 , first registration July 6, 2011.

Keywords: Actigraphy; Bipolar; Mixed states; Motor activity; Non-linear analysis; Time series; Unipolar; Variability.

MeSH terms

  • Actigraphy / methods*
  • Actigraphy / trends
  • Adult
  • Bipolar Disorder / diagnosis
  • Bipolar Disorder / physiopathology
  • Bipolar Disorder / psychology
  • Circadian Rhythm / physiology*
  • Depression / diagnosis
  • Depression / physiopathology
  • Depression / psychology
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / diagnosis
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / physiopathology
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / psychology
  • Female
  • Hospitalization / trends
  • Humans
  • Inpatients / psychology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mood Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Mood Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Mood Disorders / psychology
  • Motor Activity / physiology*

Associated data