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August 18, 1989

Increasing Rates of Depression

Author Affiliations

Princeton, NJ

Princeton, NJ

JAMA. 1989;262(7):899. doi:10.1001/jama.1989.03430070047013

To the Editor. —  I believe that the recently described seasonal disorder may in part account for the observations of Drs Klerman and Weissman.1 The authors report (1) an increase in major depression incidence between 1960 and 1975; (2) a decrease in the age of onset for these depressions, with more frequent representation in the late teens and early adult years; (3) an apparent latitudinal effect of this increase in depressive illnesses, with the increases noted in the United States, Sweden, Germany, Canada, and New Zealand but not in those more equatorial areas of Puerto Rico, among Mexican-Americans in Los Angeles, or in South Korea; (4) a gender effect, with females having a significantly higher risk than males; (5) a strong familial incidence among those with the depressive illnesses; and (6) increased rates of alcoholism, drug abuse, and suicide.Until 1975, when I treated the original patient with the