What is the role of meteorological variables on involuntary admission in psychiatric ward? An Italian cross-sectional study

Environ Res. 2020 Jan;180:108800. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2019.108800. Epub 2019 Oct 10.


Weather affects physical and mental health through several modalities which are not fully elucidated. The aim of the present study was to investigate the impact of meteorological variables and other indexes in a large sample of hospitalized patients, focusing on subjects who were involuntarily admitted. We hypothesized a direct relation between the amount of involuntary admissions and mean sunshine hours. Furthermore, we supposed that specific meteorological factors may significantly influence hospitalizations of patients affected by severe psychiatric conditions. All subjects were consecutively recruited from the Psychiatric Inpatient Unit of San Luigi Gonzaga Hospital, Orbassano (Turin, Italy) from September 2013 to August 2015. Socio-demographic and clinical characteristics were carefully collected. Meteorological data were derived by the Italian Meteorology's Climate Data Service of Physics Department of the University of Turin (Latitude: 45°03'07,15″ Nord, Longitude: 007°40'53,30″ Est, Altitude: 254 m above the sea level) (http://www.meteo.dfg.unito.it/). Our data indicate significant differences regarding temperature (minimum, maximum, and medium), solar radiation, humidex and windchill index, and hours of sunshine in psychiatric patients who were involuntarily hospitalized. After logistic regression analyses, only maximum and medium temperature, and humidex index remained significantly associated with involuntary admission in an emergency psychiatric ward. The limitations of this study include the cross-sectional study design and the single hospital for patients' recruitment. Furthermore, results and seasonal patterns obtained by patients requiring hospitalization might significantly differ from those who were not hospitalized. Exploring in a more detailed manner those environmental factors associated with involuntary admissions could lead to early intervention and prevention strategies for such distressing hospitalizations.

Keywords: Emergency psychiatry; Involuntary admission; Meteorological variables; Temperature; Weather.

MeSH terms

  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Humans
  • Humidity
  • Italy
  • Mental Disorders*
  • Meteorology*
  • Patient Admission* / statistics & numerical data
  • Psychiatric Department, Hospital*
  • Temperature