Social Rhythm Therapies for Mood Disorders: an Update

Patricia L. Haynes, Devan Gengler, Monica Kelly

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


Social rhythms are patterns of habitual daily behaviors that may impact the timing of the circadian system directly or indirectly through light exposure. According to the social rhythm hypothesis of depression, depressed individuals possess a vulnerability in the circadian timing system that inhibits natural recovery after disrupting life events. Social rhythm therapies (SRTs) support the implementation of regular, daily patterns of activity in order to facilitate recovery of circadian biological processes and also to improve mood. The majority of SRT research has examined interpersonal and social rhythm therapy (IPSRT) for bipolar disorder. Recent studies have examined IPSRT in inpatient settings, using alternative modes of delivery (group, combined individual and group, internet-based applications) and with brief timeframes. New forms of SRTs are developing that target mood in individuals who have experienced specific types of stressful life events. This manuscript reviews the theoretical and biological bases of SRTs and current literature on SRT outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number75
JournalCurrent psychiatry reports
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2016


  • Bipolar disorder
  • Circadian rhythms
  • Depression
  • Interpersonal and social rhythm therapy
  • Sleep
  • Social rhythm

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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