Season of birth: schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

J. H. Boyd, A. E. Pulver, W. Stewart

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Studies investigating the association between the risk of schizophrenia and season of birth are reviewed and the association clearly established. This association cannot be explained on the basis of age-incidence or age-prevalence artifacts. Other studies suggest there may be an association between bipolar disorder and season of birth. The leading theory in explaining the season of birth phenomenon is that a seasonal factor (such as viral infection, malnutrition, vitamin deficiency, prenatal or obstetrical complications, or ambient temperature) can damage an infant's brain and thereby predispose the child to later development of psychosis. Evidence suggests that the seasonal effect is associated with a subgroup of schizophrenics who have early onset of psychosis, less genetic loading than other schizophrenics, and better prognosis. Case-control studies are needed comparing winterborn to nonwinter-born schizophrenics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)173-186
Number of pages14
JournalSchizophrenia bulletin
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1986
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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