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Member Research and Reports

Member Research and Reports

Yale: Research on Mental Health in the Aftermath of Environmental Disasters Soaring

New research led by the Yale School of Public Health finds that the number of studies on how environmental disasters affect mental health has increased dramatically and that they consistently find strong associations with survivor’s mental health outcomes.

Dr. Sarah Lowe, assistant professor in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences at the Yale School of Public Health, and colleagues at Montclair State University and Boston University School of Public Health recently published research in Current Environmental Health Reports that summarizes the past year of literature on this topic.

They found that 178 articles on psychiatric disorders after environmental disasters were published in 2018, with 100 focusing on the two most commonly examined mental health consequences: post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and major depression. Between 1981 and 2001, for comparison, there were a total of 160 studies on the topic.

“The literature in 2018 reflects a surge in scholarly interest on this topic,” Dr. Lowe said. “This is because there is growing recognition that climate change-related disasters are increasing in frequency and scope, and that they have myriad effects on survivors’ lives, including mental health impacts.”

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