Patients with recurrent winter depression and its subsyndromal form have been reported to benefit from bright full-spectrum light (phototherapy). In order to determine whether this treatment (2 h in the morning) during winter is effective in a random sample of the general population we investigated the responses of 20 subjects with varying degrees of winter difficulties. A control group (n = 20) matched for the degree of seasonality, age, and sex was treated with dim light. Individuals were selected from a larger survey sample of the Montgomery County population (MD, U.S.A.) and were comparable to the latter in their degree of winter difficulties. Enhancement of environmental light does not, on the basis of the present study, appear to be indicated for the public at large, but rather for a subgroup of individuals with histories of winter difficulties.
- General population
- Seasonal affective disorders