Press "Enter" to skip to content

Case study: the influence of lifestyle on the intensity of suffering from sad symptoms

Table of Contents

Case study: The influence of lifestyle on the intensity of suffering from SAD symptoms

Contributors: Michał Andrzejczak, Julia Michalik, Sabina Tworzydło, Sandra Własiewicz, Agnieszka Zawada

Haven't found the right essay?
Get an expert to write you the one you need
GET YOUR PAPER NOW

Introduction

It is a widely known fact that when the weather gets colder and days become shorter, people tend to be less energetic and joyful. Some of them will suffer from regular winter blues as it is natural for humans to feel less lively due to the lack of sun and vitamin D deficiency. However, in the regions where there are seasons with short sunlight periods, a number of people can develop the seasonal affective disorder. As British Mental Health Foundation states: “Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a form of depression that the NHS estimates to affect approximately one in 15 people in the UK between September and April.” (“Seasonal affective disorder”) They underline that only some of the affected people, will find themselves unable to function in winter unless they undergo a continuous treatment.

According to the National Association for Mental Health the disorder is more likely to occur in Scandinavia, Europe, North America, North Asia, and in southern parts of Australia and South America. Among many symptoms they list: problems with concentration, problems with sleep, problems with relationships and socialising as people tend to get more irritable and unwilling to be around other people, lack of energy, decreased interest in physical contact and sex, loss of motivation even when it comes to mundane tasks, mood swings, anxiety or increased stress levels, overeating and therefore, gaining weight, and lastly weakened immune system. (Mind, 2016)

Nevertheless, while the causes of SAD are still being researched, the main focus is put on the reduced exposure to sunlight in the shorter months of the year. This may lead to malfunctioning of the hypothalamus, a small region of the brain that releases two hormones that get affected. The first one being melatonin which makes people sleepy and could be overproduced by the organisms of people suffering from SAD, and the second one being serotonin that is believed to regulate people’s moods, sleep and appetite. Therefore, when human bodies produce lower levels of serotonin due to the lack of sunlight, people are more likely to develop feelings connected to depression. (“Overview – Seasonal affective disorder”, 2018)

However, there are also other triggers to developing SAD such as traumatic life events, physical illnesses, diet changes, and use of alcohol. Hence, a person’s lifestyle could have an influence on a particular person’s intensity of suffering from SAD symptoms as insufficiently active lifestyle, unwholesome diet, and sleep deprivation can lead can lead to a greater feeling of SAD symptoms.

The basic division of methods and techniques used in research includes the division into qualitative and quantitative methods. Based on the definition, quantitative methods focus on the statistical and objective measurements, numerical, or mathematical analysis of data collected through all kinds of surveys. They can also focus on manipulating existing statistical sources using various computational techniques. However, quantitative research puts emphasis mainly on collection of numerical data and while used as a part of the post positivist paradigm approach it helps explain a specific phenomenon by confirming or denying a hypothesis through the collected data.

Quantitative research is usually carried out on samples with several hundred respondents. This research was based on answers from a group of respondents which consisted of 128 professionally active people, between 20 and 40 years old. Questions were asked with a Likert’s rating scale in order to check how strongly the respondents felt about each of the questions regarding their lifestyle and symptoms of SAD. Moreover, a few demographic survey questions were also asked to determine the gender and age of the answerers.

Other essay:   About personal study

Analysis

Scale that is adopted in charts matches the following responses (according to mentioned Likert’s rating scale):

1 – Definitely no, 2 – Rather no, 3 – I can’t define, 4 – Rather yes, 5 – Definitely yes.

While values on horizontal axes are answers on questions about a particular lifestyle feature (Q7 – Q13), values on vertical axes are average answers about SAD symptoms (Q14 – Q20) corresponding to each lifestyle question answer. Hence, for example Fig. 1 shows that respondents that are rather in happy relationships (value 4) answered on average between ‘rather yes’ and ‘definitely yes’ (value 4″,5) that they feel more energetic during daylight. Every diagram contains description corresponding to its trend and results.

Fig. 1

People in happy relationships are more likely to be full of energy when there is more natural light during daytime then those who said their relationships are unhappy. People who were unable to say if their relationship is happy are rather energetic when there is more sunlight during the day.

Fig. 2

Both people in happy relationships and those in unhappy unions fell less enthusiastic towards life in colder months. Those who could not specify whether their relationship is happy tend to be more enthusiastic during colder months.

Fig. 3

The tendency to be indifferent during shorter and colder days seems to be similar with people in happy relationships and those in rather unhappy ones. People who could not specify if they are content with their relationship do not see bigger change in their interests and mood.

Fig. 4

The graphs show that people who eat healthy are definitely more energetic during the day when there is more natural light. Those who could not say if they eat healthy are rather less energetic.

Fig. 5

The differences between people who eat healthy and those who are not when it comes to being enthusiastic are minimal. Nevertheless, those who said they definitely do not eat well are much less enthusiastic than the rest of the interviewed.

Fig. 6

People who could not specify whether they are active or not are definitely much more unenthusiastic during colder months. Those who said they are active are the least unenthusiastic among the interviewed.

Fig. 7

Interviewees who could not specify if their lifestyle is active are the ones having most problems with getting up early during autumn/winter. Those whose lives are active have less problems with getting up early.

Fig. 8

People who are the most irritated during autumn/winter are people who could not specify if they are active or not.

Whereas, those who said they are not active and those

who are seem to be on similar levels of irritation.

Fig. 9

People who spend more time outside are definitely the ones who have more energy when there is more natural light outside.

Fig. 10

People unable to specify if they get enough sleep are definitely the ones who are more tired during colder months. The graphs concerning people who do not get enough sleep and those who definitely do are very similar.

Fig. 11

People unable to specify if they get enough sleep are definitely the ones who are more unenthusiastic during colder months.

Fig. 12

People who sleep well do not have problems with getting up during winter or autumn. Those who could not specify are definitely having problems with waking up early.

Fig. 13

Interviewees who were unable to specify if they sleep enough are the ones that are the most irritated during autumn/winter.

Fig. 14

People who have enough rest during the week are definitely more energetic when there is more natural light. Nevertheless, all of the interviewees claimed to be more energetic during spring/summer.

Fig. 15

The levels of being energetic do not differ much. Only those who were unable to specify if they spend their free time on preparing for work are a little bit less energetic.

Other essay:   How to have a beautiful little face? 10 face-lift methods in life

Fig. 16

People unable to specify whether spend their free time working are the ones who are more likely to be irritated during wintertime. Those who definitely spend their free time on catching up on work are a little bit less irritated than the rest of the interviewees.

Summary

All in all, the main reason for the above-represented work was to create the questionary which would help decide whether the lifestyle could be one of the reasons for developing symptoms of SAD (Seasonal affective disorder).

The research was carried out on a sample of 128 people with the following assumptions for selecting the sample: people from the age range of 20-40 years old, who are professionally active. The questionary was delivered to people through online channels and as the research has been done between 10th and 15th of January 2019, respondents had 5 days to deliver the answers. Researchers asked questions which would possibly allow to show the impact of lifestyle on the intensity of the feeling of SAD.

However, as the charts presented above show, there are no major differences between the answers of respondents and the reason for that could be that the sample was too small to demonstrate reliable results. Nonetheless, it can be understood in two ways: the complexity of the given issue is too large or the questionnaire alone is not sufficient to formulate the reliable evidence on the analysed subject. The given answers do not allow a clear determination of the position in the case, however, they can be a factor allowing to reach the depth of the problem.

Based on the respondents’ answers, it can be observed that many of the respondents have or would have a problem with defining their lifestyle. Taking this into consideration, it is hard to say whether the given way of lifestyle affects the feeling of winter blues.

The next research should consider what exactly can be understood by the concept of lifestyle. Certainly, some assumptions can be made by analysing a single person’s answers but the problem itself seems to be more advanced in its essence.

In conclusion, it is impossible to answer the question in a clear way when the concept of lifestyle itself was not defined. Asking a question about the style of life would certainly enable an unambiguously comparison of the effect of the lifestyle and the feeling of symptoms of SAD. As for now it can only be said that the above study allowed to define a deeper problem and this work could be used as a prelude to more advanced studies.

References:

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD). (n.d.). Retrieved January 2, 2019, from https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/a-to-z/s/seasonal-affective-disorder-sad

Mind (National Association for Mental Health). (2016). Understanding seasonal affective disorder [Brochure]. London: Mind.

Overview – Seasonal affective disorder (SAD). (2018). Retrieved January 2, 2019, from https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/seasonal-affective-disorder-sad/

Wagenaar, T. C., Babbie, E. R., & Babbie, E. R. (2010). The Practice of Social Research: Guided Activities (12th ed.). Belmont, Cal.: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.

Muijs, Daniel. Doing Quantitative Research in Education with SPSS (2nd ed.). London: SAGE Publications, 2010.

Q20. Have you noticed a loss of interests or indifference in your behavior during the coming of shorter and colder days?

P20. Czy zauważyłeś/zauważyłaś w swoich zachowaniach utratę zainteresowań i zobojętnienie wraz z przyjściem krótszych i chłodniejszych dni w ciągu roku? 5 4 3 2 1 3.6923076923076925 3.7 2.8846153846153846 3.3333333333333335 3.5625 Q7. Are you happy in your current relationship?

Q15. Do you feel that you have more energy when there are more hours of daylight during the day?

P15. Czy czujesz, że masz więcej energii, gdy w ciągu dnia jest więcej godzin światła dziennego? 5 4 3 2 1 4.7333333333333334 4.4255319148936172 3.625 4.166666666666667 3.8461538461538463 Q8. Do you think that you eat healthy?

Q16. Do you have the impression that you feel less enthusiastic in colder months?

P16. Czy masz wrażenie, że czujesz się mniej entuzjastycznie nastawiony/nastawiona do świata w chłodniejszych miesiącach? 5 4 3 2 1 4.1333333333333337 3.7021276595744679 3.5625 3.9166666666666665 2.8461538461538463 Q8. Do you think that you eat healthy?

Other essay:   Life of pi summary

Q16. Do you have the impression that you feel less enthusiastic in colder months?

P16. Czy masz wrażenie, że czujesz się mniej entuzjastycznie nastawiony/nastawiona do świata w chłodniejszych miesiącach? 5 4 3 2 1 3 3.9 4.5 3.7307692307692308 3.4545454545454546 Q9. Do you think that you lead a physically active lifestyle?

Q17. Do you have with getting up early more often in the autumn/winter than in the spring/summer?

P17. Czy miewasz problemy ze wstawaniem częściej zimą/jesienią niż wiosną/latem? 5 4 3 2 1 3.3333333333333335 4.2249999999999996 4.5 3.9423076923076925 3.6363636363636362 Q9. Do you think that you lead a physically active lifestyle?

Q19. Do you think that you are more irritated during autumn/winter?

P19. Czy myślisz, że jesteś bardziej rozdrażniony/rozdrażniona w okresie jesienno-zimowym? 5 4 3 2 1 3.1111111111111112 3.6749999999999998 4 3.4038461538461537 2.9545454545454546 Q9. Do you think that you lead a physically active lifestyle?

Q15. Do you feel that you have more energy when there are more hours of daylight during the day?

P15. Czy czujesz, że masz więcej energii, gdy w ciągu dnia jest więcej godzin światła dziennego? 5 4 3 2 1 4.7142857142857144 4.1500000000000004 4.2222222222222223 4.2307692307692308 4.2105263157894735 Q10. Do you think that you spend enough time outside?

Q14. Do you feel more tired during the colder months than in those warmer?

P14. Czy czujesz się bardziej zmęczony/zmęczona w chłodniejszych miesiącach niż w tych umiarkowanie ciepłych? 5 4 3 2 1 4.1875 3.7068965517241379 2.8 4.166666666666667 3.6666666666666665 Q11. Do you think that your average sleep time per day is enough?

Q16. Do you have the impression that you feel less enthusiastic in colder months?

P16. Czy masz wrażenie, że czujesz się mniej entuzjastycznie nastawiony/nastawiona do świata w chłodniejszych miesiącach? 5 4 3 2 1 4.1875 3.6724137931034484 2.4 4 3.2777777777777777 Q11. Do you think that your average sleep time per day is enough?

Q17. Do you have with getting up early more often in the autumn/winter than in the spring/summer?

P17. Czy miewasz problemy ze wstawaniem częściej zimą/jesienią niż wiosną/latem? 5 4 3 2 1 4.625 3.8793103448275863 2.8 4.0333333333333332 3.7777777777777777 Q11. Do you think that your average sleep time per day is enough?

Q19. Do you think that you are more irritated during autumn/winter?

P19. Czy myślisz, że jesteś bardziej rozdrażniony/rozdrażniona w okresie jesienno-zimowym? 5 4 3 2 1 3.5625 3.3620689655172415 2.6 3.7333333333333334 3.1111111111111112 Q11. Do you think that your average sleep time per day is enough?

Q15. Do you feel that you have more energy when there are more hours of daylight during the day?

P15. Czy czujesz, że masz więcej energii, gdy w ciągu dnia jest więcej godzin światła dziennego? 5 4 3 2 1 4.9230769230769234 4.1086956521739131 3.75 4.15625 4.416666666666667 Q12. Do you think that you have enough free time to have a rest during the week?

Q15. Do you feel that you have more energy when there are more hours of daylight during the day?

P15. Czy czujesz, że masz więcej energii, gdy w ciągu dnia jest więcej godzin światła dziennego? 5 4 3 2 1 4.333333333333333 4.3611111111111107 3.8333333333333335 4.166666666666667 4.2702702702702702 Q13. Do you sometimes use your free time to catch up on work or prepare yourself better for the next day?

Q19. Do you think that you are more irritated during autumn/winter?

P19. Czy myślisz, że jesteś bardziej rozdrażniony/rozdrażniona w okresie jesienno-zimowym? 5 4 3 2 1 3.1666666666666665 3.4166666666666665 3.75 3.3055555555555554 3.4324324324324325 Q13. Do you sometimes use your free time to catch up on work or prepare yourself better for the next day?

Q15. Do you feel that you have more energy when there are more hours of daylight during the day?

P15. Czy czujesz, że masz więcej energii, gdy w ciągu dnia jest więcej godzin światła dziennego? 5 4 3 2 1 4.2307692307692308 4.5 4.2692307692307692 4 3.6875 Q7. Are you happy in your current relationship?

Q16. Do you have the impression that you feel less enthusiastic in colder months?

P16. Czy masz wrażenie, że czujesz się mniej entuzjastycznie nastawiony/nastawiona do świata w chłodniejszych miesiącach? 5 4 3 2 1 3.9423076923076925 3.7666666666666666 3.0384615384615383 4 3.875 Q7. Are you happy in your current relationship?

4

Be First to Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

0 Shares
Share via
Copy link

Spelling error report

The following text will be sent to our editors: