A myth debunked: The full moon does not increase the incidence of psychological problems

November 19, 2012

Contrary to popular belief, there is no connection between lunar phases and the incidence of psychological problems. This is the conclusion reached by a team of researchers directed by Professor Geneviève Belleville of Université Laval's School of Psychology after having examined the relationship between the moon's phases and the number of patients who show up at hospital emergency rooms experiencing psychological problems. Details on the study can be found on the website of the scientific journal General Hospital Psychiatry.

To determine whether the widespread belief linking the moon to was true, researchers evaluated patients who visited emergency rooms at Montreal's Sacré-Coeur Hospital and Hôtel-Dieu de Lévis between March 2005 and April 2008. They focused specifically on 771 individuals who showed up at the emergency room with chest pains for which no medical cause could be determined. Psychological evaluations revealed that a sizeable number of these patients suffered from panic attacks, anxiety and mood disorders, or suicidal thoughts.

Using lunar calendars, the researchers determined the moon phase in which each of these visits occurred. The results of their analyses revealed no link between the incidence of psychological problems and the four lunar phases. There was one exception, however; were 32% less frequent during the last lunar quarter. "This may be coincidental or due to factors we did not take into account," suggested Geneviève Belleville. "But one thing is certain: we observed no or new-moon effect on psychological problems."

This study's conclusions run contrary to what many believe, including 80% of nurses and 64% of doctors who are convinced that the lunar cycle affects patients' mental health. "We hope our results will encourage health professionals to put that idea to rest," said Dr. Belleville. "Otherwise, this misperception could, on the one hand, color their judgment during the full ; or, on the other hand, make them less attentive to psychological problems that surface during the remainder of the month."

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Is neuroticism fueled by overthinking?

August 27, 2015

Isaac Newton was a classic neurotic. He was a brooder and a worrier, prone to dwelling on the scientific problems before him as well as his childhood sins. But Newton also had creative breakthroughs—thoughts on physics ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

A_Paradox
not rated yet Nov 20, 2012
I agreed with the first voters 4/5 because I think
the sampling methodology needed to try more things out.
For example: a/ statistics for self admissions to psyche hospitals, indeed all admissions to psyche hospitals,
b/ crime statistics for unprovoked attacks during daylight hours,
and other things like that. [Daylight hours only in order to remove any affect of moonlight simply providing more opportunities for thugs to do their dirty work without being seen.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.