Metereopathy Questionnaire (METEO-Q)

Author of Tool: 

Marianna Mazza, Marco Di Nicola, Luigi Janiri

Key references: 

Mazza, M., Di Nicola, M., Catalano, V., Callea, A., Martinotti, G., Harnic, D., Bruschi, A., Battaglia, C., Janiri, L. (2012). Description and validation of a questionnaire for the detection of meteoropathy and meteorosensitivity: the METEO-Q. Comparative Psychiatry, 53(1), 103-106.

Primary use / Purpose: 

To detect meteoropathy and meteorosensitivity (effects of weather changes) on both healthy and psychiatric individuals

Background: 

The term meteoropathy derives from the Greek ‘meteora’ (things high in the air or celestial phenomena) and ‘pathos’ (illness, suffering, pain), and it is used to indicate every pathological dimension in some way related to weather conditions. This concept is referred to a set of temperature, humidity, barometric pressure and brightness. Meteoropathy can be considered a syndrome: in fact, it is represented by a group of symptoms and pathological reactions that manifest when there is a gradual or sudden change in one or more meteorological factors in a given area.

Scientists claimed that middle aged persons, especially women are at greater risk of becoming meteoropathic, but even children are at risk. The most frequent symptoms are represented by an increase in depression, both mental and physical, weakness, hypertension, cephalea, a desire to remain indoors, increased susceptibility to pain in the joints and muscles, difficulty in breathing and a heavy feeling in the stomach. There may also be mood disturbances, irritability and symptoms in the cardiovascular system, such as palpitations or pain in the sternum. These symptoms last for one or two days. They begin to decrease once the weather has changed, but return if the weather changes again. When the changes follow one after another, the symptoms decrease in intensity each time, as a sort of adapting process occurs. There is a quantitative difference between the terms ‘meteorosensitivity’ and ‘meteoropathy’. Meteorosensitive are people biologically susceptible to feel the effect of particular atmospherical events on mind and body; meteoropathic are those individuals who develop a specific illness or a worsening of the existing diseases as a consequence of these climatic changes.

The Metereopathy Questionnaire (METEO-Q) is a self-administered questionnaire for the detection of meteoropathy and meteorosensitivity. This is believed to be the first questionnaire designed to measure symptoms of meteoropathy.

Psychometrics: 

The METEO-Q has been formulated to assess the sensitivity to climate changes and their impact on symptomatologic modifications. It consists in 11 items and a structured checklist aiming to identify the physical and psychological symptoms mainly related to climate variations. Items 1-5 quantitatively explore variation of mood related or caused by specific weather conditions (variations of mood in relation to the change of latitude; variations of mood in relation to atmospheric changes; variations of mood in relation to the brightness of the sky; variations of mood caused by the temperature changes; mood changes caused by the seasons changing), while items 6-11 explore qualitative effects of symptoms (degree of relation between symptomatology and the climatic change; tendency of disturbs to minimize or disappear when the triggering condition stops or when an opposite environmental condition comes up; eventual coincidence of these disturbs with other cyclical phenomena; presence of prodromical symptoms; interference with daily activities; uneasiness feelings induced by climatic changes). The checklist explores most frequently experienced disturbs related to climatic, atmospheric, temperature or brightness changes. For each of the 21 symptoms, individuals are asked to rate on the basis of a 5-point Likert scale rating from 0 (absent) to 4 (severe).

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