Birth season: Is there a link to mood disorders?

Birth season: Is there a link to mood disorders?

Are winter babies more prone to grow up to be depressed adults? A new study out of Budapest, Hungary is linking birth season to temperament.

“Biochemical studies have shown that the season in which you are born has an influence on certain monoamine neurotransmitters, such as dopamine and serotonin, which is detectable even in adult life,” said lead researcher Xenia Gonda, in a release. “Our work looked at over 400 subjects and matched their birth season to personality types in later life. Basically, it seems that when you are born may increase or decrease your chance of developing certain mood disorders.”

The study, presented at the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology, looked at the likelihood of affective temperaments, which can lead to mood disorder. According to Mental Health America, there are four basic forms of mood disorders: major depression, cyclothymia, seasonal affective disorder and mania.

The study reported the following statistically significant trends:

  • Cyclothymic temperament (characterized by rapid, frequent swings between sad and cheerful moods), is significantly higher in those born in the summer, in comparison with those born in winter.
  • Hyperthymic temperament – a tendency to be excessively positive – is significantly higher in those born in spring and summer
  • Those born in the winter were significantly less prone to irritable temperament than those born at other times during the year.
  • Those born in autumn show a significantly lower tendency to depressive temperament than those born in winter.

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One Comment

  1. This holds true for everyone in my immediate family, my closest friends, and associates! I’d love to read more about the science involved here. In our family, depression and bipolar disorder glom onto the DNA and get passed down with big blue eyes and blonde hair! I can tell you that of my own kids, three of whom are on antidepressants, were all born in May. My September-born child has seemingly escaped with his optimism and happy outlook intact. Where’s the study?

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Lynn Hutley
Lynn Hutley

Lynn Hutley, health enews contributor, is coordinator of public affairs and marketing at Advocate BroMenn Medical Center and Advocate Eureka Hospital in central Illinois. Having grown up in a family-owned drug store, it is no surprise that Lynn has spent almost 18 years working in the health care industry. She has a degree in human resources management from Illinois State University and is always ready to tackle Trivia Night.