Milken Institute School of Public Health Poster Presentations (Marvin Center & Video)

Title

Climate Change and Mental Health: A Systematic Review

Poster Number

31

Document Type

Poster

Status

Graduate Student - Masters

Abstract Category

Environmental and Occupational Health

Keywords

climate change; mental health; well-being

Publication Date

4-2017

Abstract

Background: With the dramatic increase in research on climate change over the past decade, an increasing number of studies have explored relationships between climate change and mental health. The 2016 U.S. Global Change Research Program's (USGCRP) report, Impact of Climate Change on Human Health in the United States: A Scientific Assessment, identified some of the most relevant scientific literature available at the time on the relationships between climate change and mental health in the U.S.

Objective: This review a) examines pertinent climate change impacts on mental health; and b) systematically reviews published research relevant to climate change impacts on mental health and well-being made available since the USGCRP report.

Methods: PubMed and Scopus were searched from all studies in English between 2014 and December 31, 2016. Only original empirical research published in English was included; studies referenced in the USGCRP report was excluded.

Results and Discussion: Thirteen articles were identified that evaluated the relationship between climate or climate change and mental health. Of these 13, 5 studies evaluated temperature, 5 studies evaluated extreme weather events, 2 studies evaluated climate change broadly, and one study evaluated sea level rise as the exposure of interest. The specific mental health outcomes measured varied widely between the studies but included mood disorders, trauma- and stress-related disorders, suicide, and psychotic disorders. The studies generally found positive significant associations between increasing exposure to extreme weather events and temperature and increased risk for mental health disorders. Most of the studies lacked analysis of specific risk groups, but women were found in at least 2 of the studies to have significantly higher levels of mental health effects compared to men. Additional specific results and trends across the 13 studies, and recommendations for the design of future studies will be further detailed in the presentation.

Conclusion: Studies continue to associate climate events and changes, such as increasing temperature and extreme weather events, with an increased risk and prevalence of mental health disorders. Better understanding of how specific climate exposures may specifically impact mental health is important in targeting appropriate prevention and treatment interventions for specific risk groups and high risk geographical areas.

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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Open Access

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Poster to be presented at GW Annual Research Days 2017.

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Climate Change and Mental Health: A Systematic Review

Background: With the dramatic increase in research on climate change over the past decade, an increasing number of studies have explored relationships between climate change and mental health. The 2016 U.S. Global Change Research Program's (USGCRP) report, Impact of Climate Change on Human Health in the United States: A Scientific Assessment, identified some of the most relevant scientific literature available at the time on the relationships between climate change and mental health in the U.S.

Objective: This review a) examines pertinent climate change impacts on mental health; and b) systematically reviews published research relevant to climate change impacts on mental health and well-being made available since the USGCRP report.

Methods: PubMed and Scopus were searched from all studies in English between 2014 and December 31, 2016. Only original empirical research published in English was included; studies referenced in the USGCRP report was excluded.

Results and Discussion: Thirteen articles were identified that evaluated the relationship between climate or climate change and mental health. Of these 13, 5 studies evaluated temperature, 5 studies evaluated extreme weather events, 2 studies evaluated climate change broadly, and one study evaluated sea level rise as the exposure of interest. The specific mental health outcomes measured varied widely between the studies but included mood disorders, trauma- and stress-related disorders, suicide, and psychotic disorders. The studies generally found positive significant associations between increasing exposure to extreme weather events and temperature and increased risk for mental health disorders. Most of the studies lacked analysis of specific risk groups, but women were found in at least 2 of the studies to have significantly higher levels of mental health effects compared to men. Additional specific results and trends across the 13 studies, and recommendations for the design of future studies will be further detailed in the presentation.

Conclusion: Studies continue to associate climate events and changes, such as increasing temperature and extreme weather events, with an increased risk and prevalence of mental health disorders. Better understanding of how specific climate exposures may specifically impact mental health is important in targeting appropriate prevention and treatment interventions for specific risk groups and high risk geographical areas.