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5. Circadian Preference Timing and Despressive Symptoms in Youth
Circadian preferences (e.g., chronotype) reflect preferred timing of peak daily activity. Youth experience a shift in chronotype, such that prepubertal youth display a stronger morning preference (early rise and bedtime) while postpubertal youth exhibit a stronger evening preference (later rise and bedtime). Research has yet to examine how, chronotype relative to individuals’ pubertal status (i.e., chronotypal timing) may be associated with depression symptoms. A longitudinal community sample of youth (N=180, 56.7% female; M_age=15.2 years-old) were followed-up across two timepoints 12-months apart. Self-reported chronotype, depression symptoms and pubertal status were assessed at T1, and depression was reported on at T2 (12-months later). We regressed chronotype onto pubertal status and standardized residuals; these were saved to create the chronotypal timing variable. Linear regression models showed that chronotypal timing predicted change in depression at T2 (b=-0.81, p<.05), controlling for T1 depression and gender: Youth who expressed more evening preference than average (relative to their pubertal status) reported elevations in later depressive symptoms. Additionally, the effect of chronotypal timing held beyond the main effect of chronotype. In summary, results suggest that chronotypal timing is robustly related to prospective changes in depression during adolescence and offer new insights into the role of sleep in depression.