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Winter time has a major impact on the minds of women
Especially in winter, many people suffer from bad mood or depression. The cold, bad weather and early darkness contribute to these negative effects on the human psyche. Researchers have now found that women suffer from winter depression much more often than men.
In their study, scientists at the University of Glasgow found that women suffer more than men from the negative effects of winter on the human psyche. The doctors published the results of their study in the journal "Journal of Affective Disorders".
Depressive symptoms in winter are more common in women
Women have a bad mood and suffer from depression more often than men, especially in winter, the study authors explain. Overall, depressive symptoms are more common in women than in men in winter. This applies regardless of social factors and lifestyle factors such as smoking, alcohol consumption and physical activity.
How does winter affect women?
The study by the Institute of Health and Wellbeing at the University of Glasgow showed that low mood, fatigue and anhedonia (the inability to enjoy activities that are usually fun) peaked in women in the winter months. A link between shorter days and major depressive symptoms in women has also been found, but this may be explained by fluctuations in outside temperature, the experts say.
Seasonal mood disorder affects about three percent of the population
The condition, formerly known as seasonal mood disorder (clinically significant depressive symptoms that peak during the winter months), affects up to three percent of the general population. This occurs more often in patients who have a history of depression, the doctors explain. Those affected suffered more depressive symptoms in winter and prescriptions of antidepressants also increased during this time.
Doctors examine the data of more than 150,000 participants
The researchers carried out a so-called cross-sectional analysis of more than 150,000 participants in the British biobank cohort and analyzed the data to evaluate evidence of seasonal fluctuations in depressive symptoms and symptoms of low mood, anhedonia and fatigue. The associations between depressive symptoms, the length of the day and the average outside temperatures were also assessed.
Seasonal fluctuations in depressive symptoms are more pronounced in women
"This very large, population-based study provides evidence of seasonal fluctuations in depressive symptoms that appear to be more pronounced in women than in men," said Professor Daniel Smith in a press release from the University of Glasgow. The experts do not yet understand exactly why this effect occurs. It is interesting, however, that the changes were independent of social and lifestyle factors, which suggests a gender-specific biological mechanism. This is clearly a complex but important area that needs further investigation, the scientists say. "Physicians should be aware of these gender differences in seasonal mood to help identify and treat depressive symptoms over the course of the calendar year," added Professor Daniel Smith. (as)