A Study Investigating the Effect of Temperature on Mood


According to one study, mood in people with Bipolar Disorder is affected by temperature. Bullock and colleagues published an open access paper in PLOS One. The authors note that various studies have examined seasonal changes in mood and note a seasonal descriptor in DSM-V for Bipolar disorder. The authors note that there have been conflicting results.

On the basis of their study, they suggest that it temperature is an important variable that influences mood. They included people with Bipolar I without significant comorbidity using a self-reported measure of mood – the Chrono record and correlating data with metereological records.

In terms of the Chrono record, a self-reported measure would be a proxy for switches in mood as this would require a clinical evaluation. Nevertheless it is a useful proxy measure in terms of generating hypotheses.

The authors note that

A 1° increase in the maximum temperature was associated with a 17.5% increase in the odds of a transition from depressed to manic mood on average

The authors did not find a similar relationship for switching from ‘normal’ mood to what they term ‘manic’ mood although just to reemphasise the self-reported measure may not be the same as a manic episode.

Other findings related to switching from elevated to depressed mood, the effects of sea-level pressure and sleep. Hours of sunshine didn’t seem to play a significatn role

The temperature hypothesis is a simple and elegant finding. As there were a large number of variables that were being investigated due caution should be exercised and replication would be important. If this holds, it is a very important finding.

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Disclaimer: The comments made here represent the opinions of the author and do not represent the profession or any body/organisation. The comments made here are not meant as a source of medical advice and those seeking medical advice are advised to consult with their own doctor. The author is not responsible for the contents of any external sites that are linked to in this blog.

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