Skip to main content Accessibility help

Psychiatric Morbidity and Time Zone Changes: A Study of Patients from Heathrow Airport

  • P. Jauhar (a1) and Malcolm P. I. Weller (a2)


In a two-year period, 186 patients were admitted from Heathrow Airport to the nearest psychiatric hospital. Affective illness was related to time zone change. Depression was diagnosed significantly more often on flights from east to west (P < 0.012 east to west versus west to east; P < 0.015 north to south combined with south to north versus east to west, Fisher's exact probability test, two tailed). Hypomania was inversely related to depression in an east to west comparison (P < 0.025). No other associations with direction of travel were seen in other diagnoses. Ninety-three (50 per cent) were diagnosed as schizophrenic; 24 of these had been aimlessly wandering. Twenty patients had been admitted at least once before under similar circumstances. Schizophrenic patients from Heathrow constituted 20 per cent of the total number of schizophrenic patients admitted to the hospital during that period.



Hide All
Carroll, B. J., Curtis, G. C. & Mendels, J. (1976) Neuroendocrine regulation in depression: 1. limbic system—adrenocortical dysfunction. Archives of General Psychiatry, 33, 1039–44.
Carruthers, M., Arguelles, A. E. & Mosovich, A. (1976) Man in transit: Biochemical and physiological changes during international flights. Lancet, i, 977–81.
Diethelm, O. (1955) Treatment in Psychiatry. 3rd Edition, p 168. Springfield, Illinois: Charles C Thomas.
Dublin, L. I. (1963) Suicide: A Sociological and Statistical Study. New York: Ronald Press.
Eastwood, M. R. & Peacock, C. A. J. (1976) Seasonal patterns of suicide, depression and electroconvulsive therapy. British Journal of Psychiatry, 129, 472–5.
Faris, R. E. L. & Dunham, H. W. (1939) Mental Disorders in Urban Areas. Reprinted in 1967. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Goldberg, E. M. & Morrison, S. L. (1963) Schizophrenia and social class. British Journal of Psychiatry, 109, 785802.
Kalinowsky, L. R. & Hippius, H. (1969) Pharmacological, Convulsive and Other Somatic Treatments in Psychiatry, p 338. New York: Grune and Stratton.
Kreitman, N. (1973) Social and clinical aspects of suicide and attempted suicide. In Companion to Psychiatric Studies (ed. Forrest, A. et al), Volume 1, Chapter HI. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone.
Ødegaard, O. (1932) Emigration and Insanity: Study of Mental Disease Among Norwegian Born Population of Minnesota. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, Supplementum 4.
Pflug, B. (1976) The effect of sleep deprivation on mood and central amine metabolism in depressed patients. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, 53, 148–58.
Post, R. M., Kotin, J. & Goodwin, F. K. (1976) Effects of sleep deprivation on mood and central amine metabolism in depressed patients. Archives of General Psychiatry, 33, 627–32.
Price, J. S. (1968) Genetics of the affective illnesses. British Journal of Hospital Medicine, 6775. Also in Contemporary Psychiatry, British Journal of Psychiatry Special Publication No 9 (1975). Ashford, Kent: Headley Brothers.
Sachar, E. J., Hellman, L., Roffwarg, H. P., Halpern, F. S., Fukushima, D. K. & Gallagher, T. F. (1973) Disrupted 24-hour patterns of Cortisol secretion in psychotic depression. Archives of General Psychiatry, 28, 1924.
Shapiro, S. (1976) A study of psychiatric syndromes manifested at an international airport Comprehensive Psychiatry, 17, 453–6.
Wehr, T. A., Wirz-Justice, A., Goodwin, F. K., Duncan, W. & Gillin, J. C. (1979) Phase advance of circadian sleep-wake cycle as an antidepressant. Science, 206, 710–13.
Wetterberg, L. (1979) Advances in pineology. Paper presented at the World Psychiatric Association Symposium on Science and Psychiatry, 12 November 1979, London.
Wetterberg, L., Beck-Friis, J., Aperia, B. & Petterson, U. (1979) Melatonin/cortical ratio in depression. Lancet, ii, 1361.
Wing, J. K., Cooper, J. E. & Sartorius, N. (1974) The Measurement and Classification of Psychiatric Symptoms: An Instruction Manual for the PSE and the Catego Program. Cambridge University Press.
Wirz-Justice, A. & Arendt, J. (1978) Diurnal, menstrual cycle and seasonal indole rhythms in man and their modification in unipolar depression. Paper presented at the 2nd World Congress of Biological Psychiatry, Barcelona, 31 August to 6 September, 1978.


Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed

Psychiatric Morbidity and Time Zone Changes: A Study of Patients from Heathrow Airport

  • P. Jauhar (a1) and Malcolm P. I. Weller (a2)
Submit a response


No eLetters have been published for this article.


Reply to: Submit a response

Your details

Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *