Association between prenatal and childhood PM2.5exposure and preadolescent anxiety and depressive symptoms

Laura A. McGuinn, Iván Gutiérrez-Avila, Maria José Rosa, Allan Just, Brent Coull, Itai Kloog, Marcela Tamayo Ortiz, Homero Harari, Sandra Martinez, Erika Osorio-Valencia, Martha Maria Téllez-Rojo, Daniel N. Klein, Rosalind J. Wright, Robert O. Wright

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Fine particulate matter (PM2.5) exposure has been linked to anxiety and depression in adults; however, there is limited research in the younger populations, in which symptoms often first arise. Methods: We examined the association between early-life PM2.5exposure and symptoms of anxiety and depression in a cohort of 8-11-year-olds in Mexico City. Anxiety and depressive symptoms were assessed using the Spanish versions of the Revised Children's Manifest Anxiety Scale and Children's Depression Inventory. Daily PM2.5was estimated using a satellite-based exposure model and averaged over several early and recent exposure windows. Linear and logistic regression models were used to estimate the change in symptoms with each 5-µg/m3increase in PM2.5. Models were adjusted for child's age, child's sex, maternal age, maternal socioeconomic status, season of conception, and temperature. Results: Average anxiety and depressive symptom T-scores were 51.0 (range 33-73) and 53.4 (range 44-90), respectively. We observed consistent findings for exposures around the fourth year of life, as this was present for both continuous and dichotomized anxiety symptoms, in both independent exposure models and distributed lag modeling approaches. This window was also observed for elevated depressive symptoms. An additional consistent finding was for PM2.5exposure during early pregnancy in relation to both clinically elevated anxiety and depressive symptoms, this was seen in both traditional and distributed lag modeling approaches. Conclusion: Both early life and recent PM2.5exposure were associated with higher mental health symptoms in the child highlighting the role of PM2.5in the etiology of these conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E283
JournalEnvironmental Epidemiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 15 Feb 2024


  • Air pollution
  • Fine particulate matter
  • Mental health
  • Pediatric health


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