Studies involving astrology and psychiatry have mostly found confl icting results, with astrology being criticized as unscientifi c and also lacking an objective assessment method for being scientifi cally tested. We tested the predictive ability of astrology using the Indian system in identifying mental illness on 150 subjects (75 having mental illness and 75 without). Four astrologers blind to the subjects interpreted the computer-generated birth chart data derived from subject's gender, and date, time, and place of birth. Predictions were matched with the clinical details at fi rst assessment. Kappa coeffi cients suggested a moderate agreement in the astrological prediction of lifetime mental illness (k = 0.560, p =.001) and a substantial agreement in predicting current state of mental illness (k = 0.626, p =.001), but with good inter-astrologer agreement only for lifetime mental illness. Viewed as a diagnostic test, astrology showed a good sensitivity and specifi city for identifying mental illness of more than 75% for lifetime mental illness and more than 80% for the current mental illness. However, the study showed a poor match in predicting the symptom cluster and time of onset of symptoms. Overall, the evidence seemed to point toward Indian astrology (Varahamihira system) as practiced in the study modestly predicting the presence of mental illness. Caveats included diff erences in diagnostic concepts in the allopathic and astrological systems and the lack of a predefi ned level of astrological analysis which resulted in a poor match for symptom cluster and timing of illness. The fi ndings in this study hence are at best tentative and need more extensive enquiry.
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