International Journal of Biometeorology

, Volume 49, Issue 4, pp 238–243 | Cite as

Panic anxiety, under the weather?

  • A. BulbenaEmail author
  • G. Pailhez
  • R. Aceña
  • J. Cunillera
  • A. Rius
  • C. Garcia-Ribera
  • J. Gutiérrez
  • C. Rojo
Original Article


The relationship between weather conditions and psychiatric disorders has been a continuous subject of speculation due to contradictory findings. This study attempts to further clarify this relationship by focussing on specific conditions such as panic attacks and non-panic anxiety in relation to specific meteorological variables. All psychiatric emergencies attended at a general hospital in Barcelona (Spain) during 2002 with anxiety as main complaint were classified as panic or non-panic anxiety according to strict independent and retrospective criteria. Both groups were assessed and compared with meteorological data (wind speed and direction, daily rainfall, temperature, humidity and solar radiation). Seasons and weekend days were also included as independent variables. Non-parametric statistics were used throughout since most variables do not follow a normal distribution. Logistic regression models were applied to predict days with and without the clinical condition. Episodes of panic were three times more common with the poniente wind (hot wind), twice less often with rainfall, and one and a half times more common in autumn than in other seasons. These three trends (hot wind, rainfall and autumn) were accumulative for panic episodes in a logistic regression formula. Significant reduction of episodes on weekends was found only for non-panic episodes. Panic attacks, unlike other anxiety episodes, in a psychiatric emergency department in Barcelona seem to show significant meteorotropism. Assessing specific disorders instead of overall emergencies or other variables of a more general quality could shed new light on the relationship between weather conditions and behaviour.


Weather Wind Rain Panic Anxiety 



To Jordi Sunyer, Xavier Basagaña and Lili Sperry for their invaluable help in data analysis and in reviewing previous versions of the manuscript


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Copyright information

© ISB 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. Bulbena
    • 1
    Email author
  • G. Pailhez
    • 2
  • R. Aceña
    • 1
  • J. Cunillera
    • 3
  • A. Rius
    • 3
  • C. Garcia-Ribera
    • 1
  • J. Gutiérrez
    • 4
  • C. Rojo
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry, Institut d’Atenció Psiquiàtrica: Salut Mental i Toxicomanies, IMAS, Hospital del MarUniversitat Autonoma BarcelonaBarcelonaSpain
  2. 2.Centres Assistencials Dr. Emili Mira i LópezRecinte Torribera, Sta Coloma de GramanetBarcelonaSpain
  3. 3.Servei Meteorològic de CatalunyaSpain
  4. 4.Servei UrgènciesHospital del Mar, IMASBarcelonaSpain
  5. 5.Centre de SalutGironaSpain

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