Sad, Sleepy Seniors

Study finds alarming number of high school seniors show signs of depression, sleep-deprivation

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) High school seniors who are excessively sleepy during the day may be at an increased risk of depression, according to a new study.

The study, which followed 262 high school seniors (average age of 17.7) attending a public high school in Mercer County, N.J., found that seniors were three times more likely to have depression symptoms if they had excessive daytime sleepiness.

In all, 52 percent of the students had excessive daytime sleepiness, while 30 percent had strong depression symptoms, and 32 percent had some symptoms of depression, leading researchers from Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Brunswick, N.J., to conclude that targeting this population for appropriate diagnosis and treatment for depression and sleep disorders is essential.

Principal investigator Dr. Mahmood I. Siddique said it was surprising to find such prevalence of high school students exhibiting symptoms of strong to moderate depression. He said the fact that a number of these students are sleep deprived is also alarming and concluded that many may be performing sub-optimally because of depression and unhealthy sleep patterns.

An estimated 2 million teens and preteens suffer from depression in the United States.

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Review Date: 
January 14, 2011
Last Updated:
January 16, 2011