Monash University

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Characterisation of Circadian Rhythms in Unipolar Major Depressive Disorder

posted on 2019-11-13, 01:24 authored by MICHELLE YVONNE COLEMAN
This thesis explored problems with circadian rhythms (the “body clock”) in clinical depression. Overall, it was found that body clock timing is advanced, or “runs early,” during unmedicated depression. The sleep hormone melatonin and stress hormone cortisol were secreted over an hour earlier relative to sleep timing, than in healthy individuals. Earlier melatonin and cortisol secretion were also linked with poorer mood and sleep. In contrast, being an “evening type” was linked with more self-reported cognitive problems. These findings help to explain how current treatments work, and reveal opportunities to develop new treatments for depression.


Principal supervisor

Sean Cain

Additional supervisor 1

Andrew Phillips

Year of Award


Department, School or Centre

Psychological Sciences

Additional Institution or Organisation

Turner Institute for Brain and Mental Health

Campus location



Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Neuropsychology

Degree Type



Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences