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Temperature, Climate Change, and Mental Health: Evidence from the Spectrum of Mental Health Outcomes

Jamie Mullins () and Corey White ()
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Jamie Mullins: Department of Economics, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

No 1801, Working Papers from California Polytechnic State University, Department of Economics

Abstract: This paper characterizes the link between ambient temperatures and a broad set of mental health measures. We find that the realization of low temperatures leads to fewer self-reported days of poor mental health, fewer mental-health related emergency department visits, and fewer suicides. Conversely, exposure to more hot days is associated with more days of self-reported poor mental health, more mental health-related emergency department visits, and higher rates of suicide. We consider the efficacy of a number of potential mitigating factors including access to mental health services and residential penetration of air conditioning, among others. We find that the identified relationship is insensitive to all considered modulating factors and has not moderated over time, suggesting a lack of effective adaptation. We offer evidence for sleep quality as the mechanism by which temperatures impact mental health and discuss the implications of our findings in light of climate change.

Keywords: Mental Health; Weather; Climate; Suicide; Health (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I10 I12 I18 Q50 Q51 Q54 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-agr, nep-env, nep-hea and nep-res
Date: 2018
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