Greater improvement in summer than with light treatment in winter in patients with seasonal affective disorder

Am J Psychiatry. 1998 Nov;155(11):1614-6. doi: 10.1176/ajp.155.11.1614.


Objective: The authors sought to compare the degree of mood improvement after light treatment with mood improvement in the subsequent summer in patients with seasonal affective disorder.

Method: By using the Seasonal Affective Disorder Version of the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale, the authors rated 15 patients with seasonal affective disorder on three occasions: during winter when the patients were depressed, during winter following 2 weeks of light therapy, and during the following summer. They compared the three conditions by using Friedman's analysis of variance and the Wilcoxon signed ranks test.

Results: The patients' scores on the depression scale were significantly higher after 2 weeks of light therapy in winter than during the following summer.

Conclusions: Light treatment for 2 weeks in winter is only partially effective when compared to summer. Further studies will be necessary to assess if summer's light or other factors are the main contributors to this difference.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Phototherapy / methods*
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales / statistics & numerical data
  • Seasonal Affective Disorder / diagnosis
  • Seasonal Affective Disorder / psychology
  • Seasonal Affective Disorder / therapy*
  • Seasons*
  • Treatment Outcome