Recently, some investigators have established a seasonal pattern in normal human psychology, physiology and behaviour, and in the incidence of psychiatric psychopathology. In an attempt to elucidate the chronopsy and meteotropism in the latter, we have examined the chronograms of, and the biometeorological relationships to bed occupancy of the psychiatric ward of the Antwerp University Hospital during three consecutive calendar years (1987-1989). Weather data for the vicinity were provided by a local meteorological station and comprise mean atmospheric pressure, air temperature, relative humidity, wind speed and minutes of sunlight and precipitation/day. The number of psychiatric beds occupied during the study period exhibited a significant seasonal variation. Peaks in bed occupancy were observed in March and November, with lows in August. An important part of the variability in the number of beds occupied could be explained by the composite effects of weather variables of the preceding weeks. Our results suggest that short-term fluctuations in atmospheric activity may dictate some of the periodicities in psychiatric psychopathology.
- Human biometeorology
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Atmospheric Science
- Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis