Quantifying the effect of body mass index, age, and depression severity on 24-h activity patterns in persons with a lifetime history of affective disorders

Nahid Banihashemi, Rébecca Robillard, Jean Yang, Joanne S. Carpenter, Daniel F. Hermens, Sharon L. Naismith, Zoe Terpening, Django White, Elizabeth M. Scott, Ian B. Hickie*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)
20 Downloads (Pure)


Background: Patients with affective disorders of different ages have been found to present weight changes and different circadian activity patterns. This study assessed the effects of age, Body Mass Index (BMI) and depression severity on the activity-rest cycle in persons with affective disorders using a novel multifactorial 24-h analysis method. Methods: Two hundred and thirty-six participants aged between 14 and 85 years underwent 5 to 22 days of actigraphy monitoring (mean duration=14 days). BMI was also recorded and symptom severity was assessed with the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HDRS). Participants were divided into two groups: healthy controls (n=68) and participants with a lifetime diagnosis of affective disorders (n=168). First, the multiple regression method was employed to formulate the circadian activity pattern in term of the factors age, BMI and HDRS. For each group, the functional linear analysis method was applied to assess the relative effects of the factors. Finally, Wald-tests were used to assess the contribution of each factor on the circadian activity pattern. Results: In the affective disorders group, higher BMI was associated with higher activity levels from 3 am until 5.30 am and with lower activity levels from 10 am until 10.30 pm. Older age was associated with less activity across the day, evening, and night - from 11 am until 5.30 am. Higher HDRS scores were associated with higher activity around 1:30 am. In healthy controls, the effects of BMI and age on activity patterns were less pronounced and affected a narrower portion of the 24-h period. Conclusion: These findings suggest that older age and higher BMI are linked to lower daytime activity levels. Higher BMI and worse symptom severity were also associated with nocturnal activity patterns suggestive of sleep disturbances. The influence of age and BMI on 24-h activity profiles appear to be especially pronounced in people with affective disorders.

Original languageEnglish
Article number317
Number of pages11
JournalBMC Psychiatry
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 9 Sept 2016
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2016. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • functional linear model
  • multiple regression method
  • body mass index
  • actigraphy
  • circadian activity pattern
  • depression
  • affective disorders


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