Cold weather could be to blame for depression

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Tom Skilling says we’re going to see weather of this type of intensity into March.  We haven’t seen a winter like this since the blizzard of 1979.  It was Tom’s first year in Chicago.  It snowed 90 inches that season.  People were very tired.

Nerves were very frayed.

“There were stories of people shooting into the back of CTA buses,” Tom Skilling said.

Thankfully that hasn’t happened but we are seeing that same type of cabin fever and weather brutality 35 years later.

Dr. Michael young, a Professor of Psychology at the Illinois Institute of Technology, is conducting a study to find out how people feel during this bitter winter and what they’re doing about it. This study is different because instead of questionnaires it’s in real time.  Participants get questions texted to their cell phones five times a day.

“So we ask questions about how tired you are.  What are you doing to help with that?  Distracting yourself by doing something fun?”

Dr. Young looks at their stresses and their coping mechanisms.  He’s been conducting research like this since the 1990’s.

“So what we find is how people respond to the physical changes they have really makes a difference in how depressed they get.”

So try to cheer up!  A sunny beach may not be on your immediate horizon, but this will all end… someday.

“You know in four months we’ll be complaining about the heat so just hang in there it’ll get better,” Skilling says.

IIT is still looking for participants. Log onto

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