Effects of objective and perceived air pollution exposure on momentary psychological stress: Evidence from Beijing

Authors: Yinhua Tao*, Peking University, Yanwei Chai, Peking University, Jing Ma, Beijing Normal University, Mei-Po Kwan, University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign
Topics: Behavioral Geography, Medical and Health Geography, China
Keywords: air pollution exposure, psychological stress, real-time monitoring, Geographic Ecological Momentary Assessment, Beijing
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 9:55 AM / 11:35 AM
Room: Marshall West, Marriott, Mezzanine Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Air pollution exposure has become a potential stressor in urban environment, and associates with increased risks of chronic mental disorders. Previous observational studies fail to find the consistent health effects of objective and perceived air pollution exposure, which may be attributed to the limitation of measuring exposure and stress asynchronously in space and time. Our study combines real-time PM2.5 monitoring and Geographic Ecological Momentary Assessment (GEMA) to capture and link momentary data on exposure to air pollution and psychological stress in the activity space of residents from the same neighborhood in Beijing, China. The primary research questions are: Is exposure to air pollution, including objective measure and subjective evaluation, associated with lower momentary stress? Additionally, whether this association differs according to current activity contexts and individual’s health risk perception? Results indicate that momentary objective and perceived air pollution would stimulate real-time stress reaction, but the effect of the perceived one is even greater. The accumulative stress effect of air pollution exposure within the day cannot be verified. Furthermore, taking outdoor social and recreational activities under polluted environment weakens its stress reduction effect, whereas individuals with chronic worry/stress and without intention to take preventative actions tend to regard PM2.5 pollutants as more stressful.

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