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Volume 7, Pages 870-879
Research Article

Seasonal Variations in Mood and Behavior in Romanian Postgraduate Students

1Mood and Anxiety Program, Department of Psychiatry, University of Maryland, 685 West Baltimore Street, MSTF Building Room 502, Baltimore, MD 21201, USA
2Romanian Centre for Economic Modeling, Bucharest, Sector 4, Radulescu-Motru Str. Nr. 14, Bucharest, Romania
3Psychology Department, University of Vermont, John Dewey Hall, 2 Colchester Avenue, Burlington, VT 05405, USA
4The Institute and Hospital “Professor Dr. Dorin Hociota”, Str. Mihai Cioranu Nr. 21 Bucharest, Romania
5Residency Training Program, District of Columbia Department of Mental Health and St. Elizabeths Hospital, 2700 Martin Luther King Avenue, Washington, D.C. 20032, USA

Received 1 April 2007; Revised 22 April 2007; Accepted 23 April 2007

Academic Editor: Joav Merrick

Copyright © 2007 Joseph J. Soriano et al.


To our knowledge, this paper is the first to estimate seasonality of mood in a predominantly Caucasian sample, living in areas with hot summers and a relative unavailability of air conditioning. As a summer pattern of seasonal depression was previously associated with a vulnerability to heat exposure, we hypothesized that those with access to air conditioners would have a lower rate of summer seasonal affective disorder (SAD) compared to those without air conditioning. A convenience sample of 476 Romanian postgraduate students completed the Seasonal Pattern Assessment Questionnaire (SPAQ), which was used to calculate a global seasonality score (GSS) and to estimate the rates of winter- and summer-type SAD. The ratio of summer- vs. winter-type SAD was compared using multinomial probability distribution tests. We also compared the ratio of summer SAD in individuals with vs. without air conditioners. Winter SAD and winter subsyndromal SAD (S-SAD) were significantly more prevalent than summer SAD and summer S-SAD. Those with access to air conditioners had a higher, rather than a lower, rate of summer SAD. Our results are consistent with prior studies that reported a lower prevalence of summer than winter SAD in Caucasian populations. Finding an increased rate of summer SAD in the minority of those with access to air conditioners was surprising and deserves replication.