Large-Scale Study Shows Global Warming Has Adverse Effects On Mental Health

Leslie Hanson
October 12, 2018

But he notes, "W$3 e have a lot of work to do to figure out precisely what is causing what", as those affected by the rising temperatures experienced everything from increased stress to depression, anxiety and/or other emotional issues.

According to the L.A. Times, the team led by MIT data scientist Nick Obradovich asked nearly two million people this question between 2002 and 2012: "Now thinking about your mental health, which includes stress, depression, and problems with emotions, for how many days during the past 30 days was your mental health not good?" But conducting individual assessments of so many people was simply not feasible.

For this study, researchers examined the mental health records of 2 million randomly selected U.S. citizens using data collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System between 2002 and 2012, comparing the responses to meteorological and climatic data from the same period. Combining the responses with meteorological data, researchers found that an average maximum temperature greater than 30 degrees Celsius can increase the probability of mental health issues by 1 percent. Researchers warned that as the earth's temperatures rose, the rain fall also increased due to increased water evaporation.


First, they looked at temperatures and precipitation over a 30-day period and compared that to mental health. "We had this nice decade's worth of information about how environmental conditions related to the way people reported their mental health status", Obradovich said. When these factors were combined, they calculated that the negative effect of high temperatures on mental health was twice as high for low-income women as it was for high-income men. In months when it rained for over 25 days, there was a rise in mental health problems by 2 percent, they noted when compared to months when there was no precipitation.

Tarun Dua, mental health expert at WHO, explained: "Half of mental health disorders arise before the age of 14".

It also recommended investing in mental health resilience-building through parents and teachers; and psycho-social provision in schools and community spaces, especially in hardship contexts such as conflict and natural disaster settings. Experiencing Katrina was linked to a four percentage point increase in the prevalence of mental health problems. Patz and his co-authors found that high temperatures impacted admissions for self-harm, including attempted suicide. But there are plenty of possibilities. Hot weather discourages people from exercising and makes it harder to get a good night's sleep, and studies suggest that sleep deprivation increases the risk of depression.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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