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Lunacy revisited. The influence of the moon on mental health and quality of life.

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University of Liverpol, Health and Community Care Research Unit, United Kingdom.


The idea that the stars and planets may influence human health and behavior can be traced to at least Roman times, and research suggests a high proportion of health professionals continue to hold this belief. Nevertheless, evidence for the supposed influence of the moon on human behavior has proved particularly elusive, and research has tended to suffer from weaknesses in methodology and data analysis. This article reports findings drawn from a re-analysis of data from a research study into the functioning of a sample of mentally ill people living in the community. The mental health and quality of life of a sample of 100 people were assessed on four occasions during a 30-month period. Data were aggregated to represent the span of one lunar month, with scores being allocated to the relevant week of the lunar cycle during which each assessment was made. Comparison of mean values across the weeks of the lunar cycle was preformed using the ANOVA, Results showed significant change at the time of the full moon only in subjects with a diagnosis of schizophrenia (n = 56), where deterioration was observed in three areas of psychopathology and one area of quality of life. Some implications for nursing practice are discussed, and it is suggested that future research into the possibility of a lunar effect on human life should focus on the direct measurement of functioning in people with schizophrenia.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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