The relationship between depression and chronotype: A longitudinal assessment during childhood and adolescence

Dustin A. Haraden, Benjamin C. Mullin, Benjamin L. Hankin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background/objective: During adolescence, chronotype shifts toward “eveningness.” “Eveningness” is related to negative physical and mental health outcomes. Little is known about what influences the shift in chronotype beyond pubertal status. The current study examined the influence of earlier depression predicting later individual differences in adolescent chronotype, accounting for pubertal status, and the prospective prediction of later increases in depression from earlier chronotype. Methods: Youth (age M = 12.06, SD = 2.35; 56.5% girls) from the community completed repeated assessments of depression, including both self-reports (14 assessments) and diagnostic interviews (eight assessments), over a 48-month period. At the 36-month timepoint, participants completed chronotype and pubertal development measures. Regression and ANOVA analyses examined: (1) the influence of earlier depression levels (baseline to 36 months) upon chronotype, and (2) chronotype (at 36 months) upon later depression (48 months). Results: Youth with higher earlier depression symptoms (β = −0.347, P <.001) and history of depression diagnosis (β = −0.13, P =.045) showed a greater eveningness preference controlling for pubertal status, age, and gender. Further, depression diagnosis history interacted with pubertal status to predict chronotype: (F(1,243) = 4.171, P =.045) such that the influence of depression on chronotype was greatest among postpubertal youth (t = 3.271, P =.002). Chronotype (greater eveningness preference) predicted prospective increases in depression symptoms (β = −0.16, P =.03) and onset of depressive episode (b = −0.085, OR = 0.92, P =.03) 1 year later. Conclusion: Depression, experienced earlier in life, predicts greater preference for eveningness, especially among postpubertal youth. In turn, later depression is predicted by evening preference. These findings suggest the reciprocal interplay between mood and biological rhythms, especially depression and chronotype, during adolescence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)967-976
Number of pages10
JournalDepression and Anxiety
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2017


  • circadian rhythm
  • depression
  • eveningness
  • morningness
  • puberty
  • sleep
  • youth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


Dive into the research topics of 'The relationship between depression and chronotype: A longitudinal assessment during childhood and adolescence'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this