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Environ Health. 2015 Jan 27;14:10. doi: 10.1186/1476-069X-14-10.

Associations between air pollution and perceived stress: the Veterans Administration Normative Aging Study.

Author information

1
Department of Environmental Health, Harvard School of Public Health, Landmark Ctr, West 415, 401 Park Dr, Boston, MA, 02215, USA. amehta@hsph.harvard.edu.
2
Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, USA.
3
Department of Biostatistics, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, USA.
4
Department of Geography and Environmental Development, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer Sheva, Israel.
5
Department of Environmental Health, Harvard School of Public Health, Landmark Ctr, West 415, 401 Park Dr, Boston, MA, 02215, USA.
6
The VA Normative Aging Study, VA Boston Healthcare System, Boston, USA.
7
The Channing Laboratory, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, USA.
8
Department of Medicine, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, USA.
9
Department of Epidemiology, Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, USA.
10
Department of Psychiatry, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

There is mixed evidence suggesting that air pollution may be associated with increased risk of developing psychiatric disorders. We aimed to investigate the association between air pollution and non-specific perceived stress, often a precursor to development of affective psychiatric disorders.

METHODS:

This longitudinal analysis consisted of 987 older men participating in at least one visit for the Veterans Administration Normative Aging Study between 1995 and 2007 (n = 2,244 visits). At each visit, participants were administered the 14-item Perceived Stress Scale (PSS), which quantifies stress experienced in the previous week. Scores ranged from 0-56 with higher scores indicating increased stress. Differences in PSS score per interquartile range increase in moving average (1, 2, and 4-weeks) of air pollution exposures were estimated using linear mixed-effects regression after adjustment for age, race, education, physical activity, anti-depressant medication use, seasonality, meteorology, and day of week. We also evaluated effect modification by season (April-September and March-October for warm and cold season, respectively).

RESULTS:

Fine particles (PM2.5), black carbon (BC), nitrogen dioxide, and particle number counts (PNC) at moving averages of 1, 2, and 4-weeks were associated with higher perceived stress ratings. The strongest associations were observed for PNC; for example, a 15,997 counts/cm(3) interquartile range increase in 1-week average PNC was associated with a 3.2 point (95%CI: 2.1-4.3) increase in PSS score. Season modified the associations for specific pollutants; higher PSS scores in association with PM2.5, BC, and sulfate were observed mainly in colder months.

CONCLUSIONS:

Air pollution was associated with higher levels of perceived stress in this sample of older men, particularly in colder months for specific pollutants.

PMID:
25627872
PMCID:
PMC4417295
DOI:
10.1186/1476-069X-14-10
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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