THE SLEEP OF DEPRESSED AND NORMAL ADOLESCENT CHILDREN
GOETZ, RAYMOND RICHARD, JR.
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Three consecutive nights of sleep of stringently diagnosed major depressive male adolescents (N = 10) was investigated in comparison to normal male adolescents (N = 10). All depressive fitted Research Diagnostic Criteria (RDC) for major depressive disorder. None of the usually reported sleep abnormalities exhibited by depressed adults were found in this population (i.e., shortened rem period latency, sleep continuity disturbances). Thus, the hypothesis that the sleep disturbances that accompany adult depressive disorders might be related to changes occurring during puberty was not supported. A repeated measures ANOVA was employed in the analysis. The depressives presented with fewer body movements, a low Rem efficiency and a higher Rem fragmentation index. Across night differences (independent of group membership) were found for Rem period latency, Rem density, mean Rem period length, and mean Rem activity per Rem period.;Group by night interactions were present for total run period, stage Rem minutes, and the number of Rem periods. These interactions were due to differential group responses to the catheter night (night three). Age was a significant covariate for stage four, stage Rem, Rem period latency, Rem fragmentation, mean Rem period length, and mean Rem cycle length.;Several discriminant function analyses (of low statistical power) were performed and indicated that sleep variables in general, and specifically the sleep continuity and Rem sleep measures, were very sensitive and specific group discriminators (correct group classifications of 75-95%).;It is suggested that (1) body movements may be a measure of psychomotor retardation among adolescent depressives, (2) adolescent depressives exhibit a "lower Rem pressure", and Rem sleep may be a more fragile state among adolescents in general, (3) age should be included in statistical analyses involving all sleep measures and other circadian fluctuations, (4) while Rem period latency was not a direct factor in group discrimination, Rem sleep mechanisms do appear to be involved in adolescent depression, (5) the discriminant function analyses indicated that sleep variables were very effective group discriminators among the adolescent population, and (6) sleep and other circadian changes associated with the depressive disorder may be more specifically related to an interaction between the disorder, age, and some unknown physiological mechanism.
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