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

Author

Listed:
  • Jamie Mullins

    (Department of Economics, University of Massachusetts, Amherst)

  • Corey White

    (Department of Economics, California Polytechnic State University)

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Jamie Mullins & Corey White, 2018. "Temperature, Climate Change, and Mental Health: Evidence from the Spectrum of Mental Health Outcomes," Working Papers 1801, California Polytechnic State University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpl:wpaper:1801
    as

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    File URL: https://www.cob.calpoly.edu/economics/wp-content/uploads/sites/27/2019/11/paper1801.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Mullins, Jamie & White, Corey, 2019. "Does Access to Health Care Mitigate Environmental Damages?," IZA Discussion Papers 12717, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    2. Mengyao Li & Susana Ferreira & Travis A Smith, 2020. "Temperature and self-reported mental health in the United States," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 15(3), pages 1-20, March.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Mental Health; Weather; Climate; Suicide; Health;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I10 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - General
    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • Q50 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - General
    • Q51 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Valuation of Environmental Effects
    • Q54 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Climate; Natural Disasters and their Management; Global Warming

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