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Zentralbl Hyg Umweltmed. 1999 Aug;202(2-4):127-38.

The psychological cost of aircraft noise for children.

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Department for Medical Psychology, University of Hamburg, Germany.


Psychological effects of aircraft noise exposure on children have only recently been addressed in the References. The current study took advantage of a natural experiment caused by the opening of a major new airport, exposing children in a formerly quiet area to aircraft noise. In this prospective longitudinal investigation, which employed non-exposed control groups, effects of aircraft noise prior to and subsequent to inauguration of the new airport as well as effects of chronic noise and its reduction at the old airport (6 and 18 month post relocation), were studied in 326 children aged 9 to 13 years. The psychological health of children was investigated with a standardized quality of life scale as well as with a motivational measure derived from the Glass and Singer stress aftereffects paradigm. In addition a self report noise annoyance scale was used. In the children studied at the two airports over three time points, results showed a significant decrease of total quality of life 18 month after aircraft noise exposure as well as a motivational deficits operationalized by fewer attempts to solve insoluble puzzles in the new airport area. Parallel shifts in children's attributions for failure were also noted. At the old airport parallel impairments were present before the airport relocation but subsided there after. These findings are in accord with reports of impaired psychological health after noise exposure and indicate the relevance of monitoring psychological parameters as a function of environmental stressors among children.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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