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BY 4.0 license Open Access Published by De Gruyter August 23, 2019

Mood Worsening on Days with High Pollen Counts is associated with a Summer Pattern of Seasonality

Faisal Akram, Tyler B. Jennings, John W. Stiller, Christopher A. Lowry and Teodor T. Postolache
From the journal Pteridines


Background: Summer/spring-type seasonal affective disorder (S-SAD) is the less common subtype of seasonal affective disorder and evidence regarding potential triggers of S-SAD is scarce. Recent reports support association of airborne-pollen with seasonal exacerbation of depression (mood seasonality) and timing of suicidal behavior. Therefore, we hypothesized that Old Order Amish (OOA) with summer/spring pattern of seasonality (abbreviated as summer pattern) and S-SAD will have significant mood worsening on high pollen days.

Methods: A seasonal pattern of mood worsening and SAD parameters were estimated using Seasonal Pattern Assessment Questionnaire (SPAQ). Age- and gender-adjusted ANCOVAs and post hoc analyses were conducted to compare mood worsening on days with high pollen counts between summer-pattern vs no-summer-pattern of mood worsening, S-SAD vs no-S-SAD, winter-pattern vs no-winter-pattern of mood worsening, and W-SAD vs no-W-SAD groups.

Results: The prevalence of S-SAD was 0.4%, while 4.5% of individuals had a summer pattern of mood seasonality. A statistically significant difference for mood worsening on high pollen days was observed between summer-pattern vs no-summer-pattern of mood worsening (p = 0.006). The significant association between S-SAD vs no-SAD groups (p = 0.032) for mood worsening on high pollen days did not withstand Bonferroni adjustment for multiple comparisons. No significant association was found for winter-pattern vs no-winter-pattern of mood worsening (p = 0.61) and for W-SAD vs no-W-SAD (p = 0.19) groups.

Conclusion: Our results are consistent with previous studies implicating links between aeroallergen exposure and summer pattern of seasonality, but not the winter pattern of seasonality.

List of Abbreviations


Beck Depression Inventory (BDI-) II




Old Order Amish


Seasonal Affective Disorder


Summer/spring-type Seasonal Affective Disorder


Fall/winter-type Seasonal Affective Disorder


Analysis of Co-Variance


Seasonal Pattern Assessment Questionnaire


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Received: 2019-05-03
Accepted: 2019-06-22
Published Online: 2019-08-23

© 2019 Faisal Akram et al., published by De Gruyter Open

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Public License.

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