The idea that the time of year at which your birth takes places has a long-lasting effect on your health and personality is quite a popular belief throughout the world. It forms the basis of star-signs, horoscopes and other branches of astrology, which some people see as a bit of fun, but others take quite seriously.
On the other hand, people who consider themselves of a scientific mindset have generally rubbished the suggestion of a link between time of birth and other aspects of one’s life. Hence it is surprising that at least some aspects of astrology are finding support in reputable scientific studies.
According to various studies (e.g. this one), including meta-analysis of a number of studies, there is unmistakable correlation exists between the month of a person’s birth and their chances of acquiring a serious mental health disorder. Being born at certain times of year gives a small but significantly increased risk of problems such as depression, schizophrenia and anorexia nervosa.
People born in the northern hemisphere in February, March and April apparently have a risk of developing schizophrenia between 5 and 10 per cent higher then those born at other times. Moreover, a recent study of suicides in England and Wales has shown that 17 per cent more had birthdays in April, May and June than at other times. Anorexics in the northern hemisphere are 13 per cent more likely to have been born between April and June. Those born in autumn show an 8 per cent increase in panic attacks.
The question is no longer if the seasons affect mental health, but how. It is believed that the hours of exposure to sunlight in the early period of a child’s life is responsible for this effect, but further research is needed to test this hypothesis.
This finding supports the view of astrology previously expounded by Professor Subhask Kak of Louisiana University, who has contended that the value of astrology is not primarily in making predictions about world events, but by predicting psychological behaviour patterns. According to Professor Kak, the traditional role of the Astrologer was as a psychologist or counsellor: “The Jyotishi is, in reality, a psychological analyst, using a psychology which is much more subtle than the static psychological systems that arose in the last century.”
It is believed that a further study into the cause behind the relationship between time of birth and mental characteristics could enable discoveries which may be of great value in preventing or treating difficult to manage common health disorders.