Media Blog Post

Summary

The idea that depression is the worst in the winter season is a controversial concept discussed and tested by researchers. Several different surveys and questionnaires were provided for people to take and compare their symptoms of depression throughout the seasons. The well known hypothesis was that the lack of sunlight exposure is a big factor that increases depression symptoms, but is depression really affected by the winter season? Back in 1984 the idea of seasonal affective disorder (SAD) came about and the first studies were facilitated. Patterns of experiencing seasonal affective disorder occurs when symptoms are more apparent in the fall and winter, but subside or decrease in the spring and summer.
The majority of the research about the seasonal affective disorder was found due to the Seasonal Pattern Assessment Questionnaire. This questionnaire asks participants questions pertaining to their mood from a year or more ago. There were problems with this study though as the whole questionnaire was not supporting the definition of depression according to DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) which made the results hard to analyze, and as talked about before, the way someone felt a year ago may be hard to track. Another study done by Kerr and colleagues in 2013 found in a course of several years, when participants rated their depression, that there was no significant relationship between light exposure and depression. The fault of this study was the participants were all from the U.S. Midwest and Northwest. Eventually a more accurate depression questionnaire was designed called the Patient Health Questionnaire-8 (PHQ-8). The studies show that latitude, sunlight exposure, and seasons do not affect depression.
The media article contradicts the common thought that winter affects depression, but CNN gives a study supporting that seasonal affective disorder is a myth. A total of 34,294 adults from the United States were asked questions during a study at Auburn University of Montgomery regarding their depression symptoms two weeks prior to when the questionnaire was taken. The large number of 34,294 was split and each group took the questionnaire during one of the four different seasons so the results showed how depressed people felt during the various seasons. The results from this study showed that there were no signs of seasons affecting depression, nor does sunlight exposure or geographical latitude play a role in depression. The media states that other studies finding that depression is worse in the winter chose participants who were experiencing mood changes in the winter to help support their theory of seasonal affective disorder.

Media Article: file:///C:/Users/Gracie/AppData/Local/Packages/Microsoft.MicrosoftEdge_8wekyb3d8bbwe/TempState/Downloads/For%20Gracie%20(2).pdf
Scholarly Article:
https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/2167702615615867

Reflection
While deciding what all to include in my summary of the research article I looked at the information pertaining to the studies done in order to find whether or not seasons play a role in depression. The well known myth is the during the winter season, depression is worse than during the warm and sunny seasons. I made sure to include how the main three studies done to support that seasons, light exposure, and geographical latitude do not worsen symptoms of depression like people may think. Throughout the research article there was a lot of insignificant information listed, which did not have a lot of meaning. I chose to write about the Seasonal Pattern Assessment Questionnaire first because that was one of the first questionnaire developed and used to find that seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is not real. The Seasonal Pattern Assessment, Kerr’s study, and the Patient Health Questionnaire-8 all were the main studies that first gave results showing that there were no signs of SAD. Throughout the research article, I found that the information was hard to transfer into my own words due to the amount of studies mentioned. I was not sure how specific I should be when explaining each study’s results. When discussing the media article, summarizing the main concepts were easier because the language used was simple to understand and the article overall did include an abundant amount of unnecessary information. When writing the pop culture article critique, I found that finding information to critique was a bit easier because the results were not as specific and not a whole lot of information was present. The scholarly article was more complicated overall when writing a critique because the language was advanced and a lot more information was present, and I did not know what all of the information meant. Overall, I have a lot of respect for journalists because they have to translate information into their own words and understand the context. Along with comprehending the text, journalists have to make their work interesting in order be successful and to keep people reading their work.

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