This study investigated seasonality in male and female college athletes and nonathletes. Given the literature on activity level and its positive impact on mood, it was predicted that athletes would benefit more than nonathletes with regards to seasonal symptoms. Participants completed measures of seasonality, depression, and cognitive processes during a winter month. Multiple measures of seasonality were administered to distinguish seasonal depression symptoms from nonseasonal symptoms. Results indicated that nonathletes reported more seasonal symptoms, seasonal attitudes, and rumination, gained more weight, socialized the least, and slept more than athletes. Female nonathletes reported the most impact from the changing seasons and more negative thoughts about the changing seasons. These results indicate that engaging in collegiate athletics may serve as a protective factor in seasonal depression.
Craig Lodis, Sandra T. Sigmon, Amber Martinson, Julia Craner, and Morgan McGillicuddy are with the Psychology Department at the University of Maine in Orono. Bruce Hale is an associate professor of Kinesiology at Pennsylvania State University, Berks.