3 years ago

Residential road traffic noise and general mental health in youth: The role of noise annoyance, neighborhood restorative quality, physical activity, and social cohesion as potential mediators

Residential road traffic noise and general mental health in youth: The role of noise annoyance, neighborhood restorative quality, physical activity, and social cohesion as potential mediators
Given the ubiquitous nature of both noise pollution and mental disorders, their alleged association has not escaped the spotlight of public health research. The effect of traffic noise on mental health is probably mediated by other factors, which have not been elucidated sufficiently. Herein, we aimed to disentangle the pathways linking road traffic noise to general mental health in Bulgarian youth, with a focus on several candidate mediators – noise annoyance, perceived restorative quality of the living environment, physical activity, and neighborhood social cohesion. A cross-sectional sample was collected in October – December 2016 in the city of Plovdiv, Bulgaria. It consisted of 399 students aged 15–25years, recruited from two high schools and three universities. Road traffic noise exposure (Lden) was derived from the strategic noise map of Plovdiv. Mental health was measured with the 12-item form of the General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12). Noise annoyance, perceived restorative quality of the living environment, commuting and leisure time physical activity, and neighborhood social cohesion were assessed using validated questionnaires. Analyses were based on linear regression mediation models and a structural equation modeling (SEM) to account for the hypothesized interdependencies between candidate mediators. Results showed that higher noise exposure was associated with worse mental health only indirectly. More specifically, tests of the single and parallel mediation models indicated independent indirect paths through noise annoyance, social cohesion, and physical activity. In addition, the SEM revealed that more noise annoyance was associated with less social cohesion, and in turn with worse mental health; noise annoyance was also associated with lower neighborhood restorative quality, thereby with less social cohesion and physical activity, and in turn with worse mental health. However, causality could not be established. Further research is warranted to expand our still limited understanding of these person-environment interactions.

Publisher URL: www.sciencedirect.com/science

DOI: S0160412017312400

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