Exposure to ozone from air pollution has been linked to an increase in depressive symptoms for adolescents over time, even in neighborhoods that meet air quality standards, according to new research published by the American Psychological Association.
Ozone is a gas that is produced when various pollutants from motor vehicle exhaust, power plants and other sources react to sunlight. Higher ozone levels have been linked to various physical ailments, including asthma, respiratory viruses and premature death from respiratory causes. This study is the first to link ozone levels to the development of depression symptoms symptoms in adolescents over time. Those symptoms may include persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness, difficulty with concentration, sleep disturbances and thoughts about suicide.
Adolescents who lived in areas with relatively higher ozone levels showed significant increases in depressive symptoms over time, even though the ozone levels in their neighborhoods didn’t exceed state or national air quality standards. The findings weren’t affected by the participants’ sex, age, race, household income, parental education or socioeconomic characteristics of their neighborhoods. The research was published online in Developmental Psychology.
Release date: 14 March 2022
Source: American Psychological Association