Individual and joint effects of prenatal PM2.5 and maternal stress on child temperament

Laura A. McGuinn, Daniel N. Klein, Iván Gutiérrez-Avila, Alexander P. Keil, Marcela Tamayo-Ortiz, Allan Just, Brent Coull, Mariana Torres-Calapiz, Itai Kloog, Martha Maria Téllez-Rojo, Rosalind J. Wright, Robert O. Wright

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Prenatal fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and maternal psychological functioning have been associated with child cognitive outcomes, though their independent and joint impacts on earlier behavioral outcomes remains less studied. We used data from 382 mother-child pairs from a prospective birth cohort in Mexico City. Temperament was measured at 24 months using the Carey Toddler Temperament Scale (TTS). Exploratory factor analysis (EFA) was used to update the factor structure of the TTS. During pregnancy, mothers completed the Crisis in Family Systems-Revised, Edinburgh Depression Scale, pregnancy-specific anxiety scale, and the Perceived Stress Scale. Pregnancy PM2.5 was assessed using estimates from a satellite-based exposure model. We assessed the association between prenatal maternal stress and PM2.5 on temperament, in both independent and joint models. Quantile g-computation was used to estimate the joint associations. Models were adjusted for maternal age, SES, education, child sex, and child age. In EFA, we identified three temperament factors related to effortful control, extraversion, and negative affect. Our main results showed that higher levels of PM2.5 and several of the maternal psychological functioning measures were related to both effortful control and negative affect in the child, both individually and as a mixture. For instance, a one quartile increase in the prenatal mixture was associated with higher negative affect scores in the child (0.34, 95% CI: 0.16, 0.53). We observed modification of these associations by maternal SES, with associations seen only among lower SES participants for both effortful control (−0.45, 95% CI: -0.70, −0.20) and negative affect outcomes (0.60, 95% CI: 0.35, 0.85). Prenatal PM2.5 and maternal psychological functioning measures were associated with toddler temperament outcomes, providing evidence for impacts of chemical and non-chemical stressors on early child health.

Original languageEnglish
Article number118432
JournalEnvironmental Research
StatePublished - 15 May 2024


  • Child temperament
  • Mixtures
  • Particulate matter
  • Physiological stress
  • Pregnancy


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