Stressful life events and EEG sleep in depressed and normal control adolescents

Douglas E. Williamson, Ronald E. Dahl, Boris Birmaher, Raymond R. Goetz, Beverly Nelson, Neal D. Ryan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


EEG sleep measures in 35 depressed and 33 normal control adolescents were examined in relation to stressful life events occurring in the year before sleep studies. There was a significant interaction between stressful life events and diagnostic status for REM latency and total REM time. In the normal controls, the presence of stressful life events was significantly associated with reduced REM latency and increased total REM time. Among the depressed adolescents, there were no significant effects of stressful life events on REM latency or total REM time. The depressed adolescents with no stressful life events (n = 9) had significantly lower REM latency values compared to normal control adolescents with no stressful life events (n = 13) (61.7 ± 50.0 vs. 132.1 ± 79.0, p ≤ .01). It appears that stressful life events influence at least some measures of adolescent sleep and should be considered in future controlled studies aimed at understanding sleep changes in adolescent depression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)859-865
Number of pages7
JournalBiological Psychiatry
Issue number12
StatePublished - Jun 15 1995


  • Depression
  • adolescents
  • life events
  • polysomnography
  • stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biological Psychiatry


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