Geographical and climatic factors and depression risk in the SUN project Academic Article uri icon


  • BACKGROUND: Depression incidence has been related with seasonal periodicity and climate. The aim of the study was to estimate the possible association between depression and specific meteorological factors, namely temperature, light and rain. METHODS: In total, 13,938 participants from the SUN (Seguimiento Universidad de Navarra) cohort study were included in the analysis. Subjects were classified according to daily mean temperature, number of daylight hours and amount of rain, by year, at their geographical area of residence, data supplied by the Spanish Agency of Meteorology. Participants were considered as incident cases of depression whenever they reported a physician diagnosis of depression or the use of antidepressant medication in any of the follow-up questionnaires. Cox regression models were fit to assess the relationship between climatic and geographical factors and the incidence of depression. RESULTS: Male subjects living in the south and centre areas of Spain showed a higher risk to develop depression compared with those living in the north area (hazard ratio = 1.6, 95% CI = 1.16-2.23 and hazard ratio = 1.41, 95% CI = 1.06-1.87, respectively). Moreover, among males, a direct association between the number of daily light hours and mean temperature and the risk of depression was also found. For men, living in rainy areas was associated with a lower risk of developing depression. CONCLUSION: Our results suggest that climate-depression relationship is more complex than previously thought, and strongly different between men and women.

publication date

  • 2014