375 Seasons & Mental Health

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Research by Slaunwhite, Amanda. K., Ronis, S. T., Peters P. A., & Miller, David. (2018).

Written by Shannon Cantalupo, B.S. 

Studies show that the season of the year often affects our mental health. But do seasons affect all age groups equally? Researchers investigated just that!

Alaskan and Canadian researchers used admission records from the New Brunswick Hospital Discharge Database.  They examined whether there was a trend of seasonal mental-health related hospitalizations comparing children, adolescents, and adults between 2004 and 2014. These researchers reviewed over 41,000 patient records.

Researchers found a general increase in mental-health-related hospital admissions for children and adolescents between 2004 and 2014. For both children and adolescents, peak admissions occurred during February with lows during the summer. The winter increase is likely due to academic pressures to achieve. And, school staff more likely interact and identify mental health issues, and make referrals during the school year.

The peak admissions for adults, in contrast, occurred in April-May with lows in December. When the weather warms, there are also more social opportunities with increased social pressures. This may exacerbate mental health issues for adults.

These findings support identifying complex factors that influence mental health problems and psychiatric admissions. This suggests: help youth by decreasing academic stressors.

Reference:

Slaunwhite, A. K., Ronis, S. T., Peters P. A., & Miller, D. (2018). Seasonal variations in psychiatric admissions to hospital. Canadian Psychology/ Psychologie Canadienne, 1 – 11

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About Author

Adele Hall is the administrative assistant for the School of Psychology in charge of uploading the Psychology Science minutes. The authors of the minutes are listed in the written portion. The Psychology Science Minutes are coordinated by Juanita N. Baker, Ph.D., faculty emerita, and reviewed by former Dean Mary Beth Kenkel, faculty emerita.

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