From what I can find...

  1. Anecdotally, my mother used to work in nursing homes for the elderly and found that around the full moon, patients slept less and were more agitated.

Anecdotal evidence concerning a relationship between human illnesses and a full moon is frequently claimed by as many as 81% of mental health workers (Francis, et al. 2017).

  1. Police have linked full moons to a rise in aggressive behaviour among drinkers on the streets of Brighton.

Research carried out by us has shown a correlation between violent incidents and full moons.

  1. The same newspaper report cited a 1998 study without reference information, stating that

In 1998, a three-month psychological study of 1,200 inmates at Armley jail in Leeds discovered a rise in violent incidents during the days on either side of a full moon.

During the first and last quarter of each lunar month there was a marked increase in violent incidents.During the remaining part of the month there were far fewer incidents and none at all on some days.

I have yet to find the 1998 study through Google Scholar etc. but I have found some research (e.g. the open access Foster & Roenneberg (2008)) finding no link. I was wondering if there has been any possible link found in clinical research?

My theory was initially that maybe the full moon might affect CSF (cerebral spinal fluid) levels around the various areas of the brain, much like it affects sea water levels with their tides. But, then I would have thought the same would occur at local sea tidal times. However, maybe tidal effects are stronger at full moon?


Attewill, F. (2007). Police link full moon to aggression. The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/uk/2007/jun/05/ukcrime

Foster, R. G., & Roenneberg, T. (2008). Human responses to the geophysical daily, annual and lunar cycles. Current biology, 18(17), R784-R794. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2008.07.003

Francis, O. J., Kopke, B. J., Affatato, A. J., & Jarski, R. W. (2017). Psychiatric Presentations During All 4 Phases of the Lunar Cycle. Advances in mind-body medicine, 31(3), 4–7. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28841578/

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    $\begingroup$ Related question on Skeptics: Do people with mental illnesses feel the effect more during the full moon? $\endgroup$
    – Steven Jeuris
    Jul 16, 2021 at 9:05
  • $\begingroup$ @StevenJeuris I find it interesting that the answerer at Skeptics found no significant correlational evidence when a high proportion of front line staff in the mental health and policing professions see it all the time. $\endgroup$ Jul 16, 2021 at 9:10
  • $\begingroup$ Psychiatric Presentations During All 4 Phases of the Lunar Cycle $\endgroup$
    – Steven Jeuris
    Jul 16, 2021 at 10:51
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    $\begingroup$ Sure, but you only cited its framing. Read the full abstract, e.g.: "The following psychiatric presentations occurred: (1) 464 during the new moon; (2) 483 during the first quarter; (3) 449 during the full moon; and (4) 461 during the third quarter (4-group overall χ2, P = .89). Differences between the 5 diagnostic categories across the 4 lunar phases were not statistically significant (4-group overall χ2, P = .85 for the 5 diagnostic categories). " $\endgroup$
    – Steven Jeuris
    Jul 16, 2021 at 12:20
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    $\begingroup$ @StevenJeuris yes I did see that. I will have to really study the report on that. $\endgroup$ Jul 16, 2021 at 12:44

1 Answer 1


I have found a piece of research (Thakur & Sharma 1984 PDF) which states there is a possible link.


The incidence of crimes reported to three police stations in different towns (one rural, one urban, one industrial) was studied to see if it varied with the day of the lunar cycle. The period of the study covered 1978-82. The incidence of crimes committed on full moon days was much higher than on all other days, new moon days, and seventh days after the full moon and new moon. A small peak in the incidence of crimes was observed on new moon days, but this was not significant when compared with crimes committed on other days. The incidence of crimes on equinox and solstice days did not differ significantly from those on other days, suggesting that the sun probably does not influence the incidence of crime. The increased incidence of crimes on full moon days may be due to "human tidal waves" caused by the gravitational pull of the moon.


Thakur, C. P., & Sharma, D. (1984). Full moon and crime. British Medical Journal (Clinical Research Edition), 289(6460), 1789-1791. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.289.6460.1789

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    $\begingroup$ 1984, and a single study? I think a bit more evidence is needed to answer this meaningfully. :) Bold claims require clear evidence. ;p $\endgroup$
    – Steven Jeuris
    Jul 16, 2021 at 10:15
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    $\begingroup$ @StevenJeuris That's why I said possible. However, the peak shown in the article is significant in my view, and the study was conducted using data covering 4 years. A corroborating or refuting paper would definitely need to be found but this is a finding so far. $\endgroup$ Jul 16, 2021 at 10:29

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