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May 26, 2010

There’s a common belief that the weather affects our mood, that we tend to become more depressed in the winter and that summer brings an emotional lift. This has been researched before in small studies that have found inconsistent results but a new study published in Psychiatry Research tested the idea on almost 14,500 people and found no link to weather, while the seasonal effects did not follow the common belief: depression was more common in summer and autumn.

The researchers, led by Dutch psychologist Marcus Huibers, tested both the effect of daily changes in weather and the influence of the season. They sent out thousands of invitations to people in Holland to complete a standard depression diagnosis questionnaire on the internet, in waves of a few thousand every week, over 18 months.

This allowed the researchers to check the exact day’s weather against people’s mood states.

Neither that day’s temperature, the amount of sunshine or rainfall had any immediate effect on mood, and the seasonal changes were not what you’d expect from ‘common knowledge’: men had seasonal peaks of major depression and sad mood in the summer, while women had seasonal peaks in the autumn.

Although there are some people who do seem to have depression triggered when winter arrives (a condition diagnosed as ‘seasonal affective disorder’ or SAD) this link doesn’t seem to exist in the public as a whole.

Read in Full:  http://www.mindhacks.com/blog/2010/05/singing_in_the_rain.html



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