Seasonality in mood and behaviours of Japanese residents in high-latitude regions: Transnational cross-sectional study

Yumiko Kurata, Shuhei Izawa, Shinobu Nomura

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    Background: Daylight hours in high-latitude regions tend to be longer than those in Japan in summer, and shorter than those in Japan in winter. For example, daylight hours in London in winter are one-third those of Tokyo. Therefore, this study investigated and compared seasonal changes in mood and behaviours of Japanese individuals living in and outside Japan. Methods: Surveys were conducted with Japanese residents in summer and winter in the UK (n = 106), Nordic countries (n = 40), Southeast Asia (n = 50), and Japan (n = 96). First, summer and winter General Health Questionnaire-28 (GHQ28) scores of each regional group were analysed. Subsequently, month-wise differences in mood and behaviours were compared across the four geographical regions. Results: Summer and winter GHQ28 scores of participants living in the UK and Nordic countries differed significantly, while no seasonal differences were observed for residents in Japan and Southeast Asia. Further, in the UK and Nordic countries, summer was associated with better mood and more activity, while winter was linked to lowered mood and reduced activity. Conclusion: The results indicate that Japanese living in the UK and Nordic countries (high-latitude regions) experience seasonal fluctuations in depressive symptoms that may be linked to drastic seasonal environmental changes. Observed over a 12-month period, their mood and behaviour declined in winter and improved in summer. Therefore, considering the prevalence of overseas stressors that differ from those in their home country, it is necessary to investigate the effectiveness of support systems that help migrants adapt to seasonal changes in high-latitude regions.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number33
    JournalBioPsychoSocial Medicine
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2016 Dec 5



    • Depression
    • Japanese resident
    • Migration
    • Seasonal affective disorder
    • Seasonal changes

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Social Psychology
    • Psychology(all)
    • Psychiatry and Mental health
    • Biological Psychiatry

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