Who is affected by seasonal affective disorder (SAD)?

People who are more prone to developing seasonal affective disorder (SAD) include:1, 2

  • Females. Between 60% and 90% of people diagnosed with SAD are women.
  • Older teens and young adults. Young people are at higher risk for winter depressive episodes. The risk of developing SAD for the first time decreases as a person grows older.
  • People who live far from the equator.
  • People who have a family history of SAD.


  1. American Psychiatric Association (2000). Seasonal pattern section of Mood disorders. In Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th ed., text rev., pp. 425–427. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association.
  2. Lam RW, Levitt AJ (1999). Canadian Consensus Guidelines for the Treatment of Seasonal Affective Disorder: A Summary of the Report of the Canadian Consensus Group on SAD. Vancouver, BC: Clinical and Academic Publishers.

Last Updated: August 8, 2008

Author: Caroline Rea, RN, BS, MS & Jeannette Curtis

Medical Review: Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Alfred Lewy, MD, PhD - Psychiatry

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