Temperature and mental health-related emergency department and hospital encounters among children, adolescents and young adults

Li Niu, Blean Girma, Bian Liu, Leah H. Schinasi, Jane E. Clougherty, Perry Sheffield

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Aims We examine the association between high ambient temperature and acute mental health-related healthcare encounters in New York City for children, adolescents and young adults. Methods This case-crossover study included emergency department (ED) visits and hospital encounters with a primary diagnosis of any mental health disorder during warm-season months (June-August) in New York City from 2005 to 2011 from patients of three age groups (6-11, 12-17 and 18-25 years). Using a distributed lag non-linear model over 0-5 lag days, by fitting a conditional logistic regression for each age group, we calculated the cumulative odds ratios of mental health encounters associated with an elevated temperature. Analyses were stratified by race/ethnicity, payment source and mental health categories to elucidate vulnerable subpopulations. Results In New York City, there were 82,982 mental health-related encounters for young people aged 6 to 25 years during our study period months. Elevated temperature days were associated with higher risk of mental health-related ED and hospital encounters for the 6- to 11-year-olds (odds ratio [OR]: 1.28, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.13-1.46), for the 12- to 17-year-olds (OR: 1.17, 95% CI: 1.09-1.25) and for the 18- to 25-year-olds (OR: 1.09, 95% CI: 1.04-1.15). Children with reaction disorders, adolescents with anxiety and bipolar disorders, young adults with psychosis and reaction disorders and Black and non-Hispanic children and adolescents showed vulnerability to elevated temperature. Conclusions We found that elevated ambient temperatures were associated with acute mental health ED or hospital encounters across childhood, adolescence and young adulthood.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere22
JournalEpidemiology and Psychiatric Sciences
StatePublished - 17 Apr 2023


  • climate change
  • extreme heat
  • paediatric
  • psychiatry
  • psychology


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