Kate Simon

Understanding the negative relationship between childhood depression, insufficient sleep and memory is the focus of a new UCI study led by Katharine Simon, licensed pediatric psychologist and assistant researcher in the Sleep and Cognition Lab in the School of Social Sciences. Funded by a five-year, $797,520 grant from the National Institutes of Health, she’s working to understand how sleep disturbances among adolescents experiencing depression harms their ability to remember facts and events.

“Depression in adolescence is a growing public health concern, with symptoms beginning during the transition to adolescence (9 - 12 years) and conferring heightened risk for long-term harmful psychological and cognitive outcomes,” says Simon. “Although the brain mechanisms underlying depression-related memory deficits are not understood, one potential risk factor may be insufficient sleep.”

To further understand this relationship, Simon’s study participants will take part in yearlong memory-related tasks while monitoring their sleep and mood. Findings will help fill a fundamental gap in researchers’ knowledge of the individual trajectories of insufficient sleep, depression, and memory across the adolescent transition.

Funded work on this study began in August and will run through July 2027. First year funding is $159,562 with additional funding granted at annual reporting intervals.


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