Teens Becoming Depressed Due To Air Pollution

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A new study has found that air pollution exposure is linked to depressive symptoms in adolescents. The environment is something that a lot of people, especially youth, are concerned about. While some may not think it is a “big deal,” there are continuous studies going on that show that it can be harmful, and its effects go well beyond what people had presumed. Air pollution has significantly been linked to negative effects for almost everyone, and there are more studies coming as to why the world needs to pay attention to the environment and what they are putting out there in the air.

According to Medical Xpress, air pollution is showing that it can severely impact the mental health of youth, something that is already of great concern. This study was done by the American Psychological Association, and it can be read in full here.

The study found that exposure to ozone from air pollution has been linked to an increase in depressive symptoms when adolescents have been exposed to it over time. This remained true in areas that met the air quality standards. Ozone is the gas that is emitted into the air from fuel exhaust and power plants, and it is shown to have hazardous effects on our health.

This is the first study to link ozone levels with depression symptoms in youth, but it showed that they could have feelings of persistent sadness and hopelessness, have difficulty concentrating, problems sleeping as well as thoughts of self-harm.

Erika Manczak, the lead researcher, stated that she believes that their findings speak to the importance of paying attention to air pollution, and the impact it is having on the mental health of youth. To complete the study, researchers looked at data from a previous study of 213 adolescent youth. They were all between the ages of 9 to 13 years old, in the San Francisco Bay Area.

They compared the data about youth mental health over a four-year period and looked at where they lived and the air quality in their area. They found that adolescents who lived in areas with higher ozone levels showed increases in depressive symptoms over time, and that was true even when their area’s ozone levels did not go past the recommended standards. There was no difference in regard to race, socio-economic status, or sex either. The researchers state that their study shows that even low levels of ozone can be harmful.

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