Few studies in the literature have examined the effect of meteorological factors, especially temperature, on psychiatric hospitalization and even less on their association with involuntary admission. This study aimed to investigate the potential association of meteorological factors with the involuntary psychiatric hospitalization in the region of Attica, Greece. The research was conducted at the Psychiatric Hospital of Attica "Dafni". This was a retrospective time series study of 8 consecutive years of data (2010 to 2017) and included 6887 involuntarily hospitalized patients. Data on daily meteorological parameters were provided from the National Observatory of Athens. Statistical analysis was based on Poisson or negative binomial regression models with adjusted standard errors. Analyses were initially based on univariable models for each meteorological factor separately. All meteorological factors were taken into account through factor analysis and then, through cluster analysis, an objective grouping of days with similar weather type was performed. The resulting types of days were examined for their effect on the daily number of involuntary hospitalizations. Increases in maximum temperature, in average wind speed and in minimum atmospheric pressure values were associated with an increase in the average number of involuntary hospitalizations per day. Increase of the maximum temperature above 23 °C at lag 6 days before admission did not affect significantly the frequency of involuntary hospitalizations. Low temperature and average relative humidity above 60% levels had a protective effect. The predominant day type at lag 1 to 5 days before admission showed the strongest correlation with the daily number of involuntary hospitalizations. The cold season day type, with lower temperatures and a small diurnal temperature range, northerly winds of moderate speed, high atmospheric pressure and almost no precipitation, was associated with the lowest frequency of involuntary hospitalizations, whereas the warm season day type, with low daily temperature and small daily temperature range during the warm season, high values of relative humidity and daily precipitation, moderate wind speed/gust and atmospheric pressure, was associated with the highest. As climate change increases the frequency of extreme weather events, it is necessary to develop a different organizational and administrative culture of mental health services.

KEYWORDS: Meteorological factors, weather variables, mental health, mental illness, psychiatric admissions, involuntary admissions.

Ioannis Rizavas, Rossetos Gournellis, Nikos Pantazis, Fotios Chatzinikolaou, Phoebe Douzenis, Vasiliki Efstathiou, Kostas Lagouvardos, Athanasios Douzenis


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