Journal article

Highs and lows, ups and downs: meteorology and mood in bipolar disorder

9 Mar 2017

Abstract :
Seasonal variation of manic and depressive symptoms is a controversial topic in bipolar disorder research. Several studies report seasonal patterns of hospital admissions for depres- sion and mania and variation in symptoms that appear to follow a seasonal pattern, whereas others fail to report such patterns. Differences in research methodologies , data analysis strategies, and temporal resolution of data may partly explain the variation in findings between studies. The current study adds a novel perspectiv e to the literature by investigat- ing specific meteorological factors such as atmospheric pressure, hours of sunshine, rela- tive humidity, and daily maximum and minimum temperatu res as more proximal predictors of self-reported daily mood change in people diagnosed with bipolar disorder. The results showed that daily maximum temperature was the only meteorological variable to predict clinically-relevant mood change, with increases in temperature associated with greater odds of a transition into manic mood states. The mediating effects of sleep and activity were also investigated and suggest at least partial influence on the prospective relationship between maximum temperature and mood. Limitations include the small sample size and the fact that the number and valence of social interactions and exposure to natural light were not investigated as potentially important mediators of relationships between meteorological fac- tors and mood. The current data make an important contribution to the literature, serving to clarify the specific meteorological factors that influence mood change in bipolar disorder. From a clinical perspectiv e, greater understanding of seasonal patterns of symptoms in bipolar disorder will help mood episode prophylaxis in vulnerable individuals.

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