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Air pollution and trajectories of adolescent conduct problems: the roles of ethnicity and racism; evidence from the DASH longitudinal study

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2029-2039
Number of pages11
JournalSocial Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology
Issue number11
PublishedNov 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information: We acknowledge the invaluable support of participants and their parents, the Participant Advisory Group, schools, civic leaders, local GP surgeries and community pharmacies, the Clinical Research Centre at Queen Mary University of London, the Clinical Research Facility at University College Hospital, the survey assistants and nurses involved in DASH data collection. IM, FK, and SDB are supported by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Health Protection Research Unit in Environmental Exposures and Health, a partnership between Public Health England and Imperial College London. The views expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the NIHR, Public Health England or the Department of Health and Social Care. Funding Information: The study was funded by the Medical Research Council (10. 13039/N4 501100000265, MC_U130015185/MC_UU_12017/1/ MC_UU_12017/13) North Central London Consortium and the Primary Care Research Network. Publisher Copyright: © 2021, The Author(s). Copyright: Copyright 2021 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.

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Purpose: No known UK empirical research has investigated prospective associations between ambient air pollutants and conduct problems in adolescence. Ethnic minority children are disproportionately exposed to structural factors that could moderate any observed relationships. This prospective study examined whether exposure to PM 2.5 and NO 2 concentrations is associated with conduct problems in adolescence, and whether racism or ethnicity moderate such associations. Methods: Longitudinal associations between annual mean estimated PM 2.5 and NO 2 concentrations at the residential address and trajectories of conduct problems, and the potential influence of racism and ethnicity were examined school-based sample of 4775 participants (2002–2003 to 2005–2006) in London, using growth curve models. Results: Overall, in the fully adjusted model, exposure to lower concentrations of PM 2.5 and NO 2 was associated with a decrease in conduct problems during adolescence, while exposure to higher concentrations was associated with a flattened trajectory of conduct symptoms. Racism amplified the effect of PM 2.5 (β = 0.05 (95% CI 0.01 to 0.10, p < 0.01)) on adolescent trajectories of conduct problems over time. At higher concentrations of PM 2.5, there was a divergence of trajectories of adolescent conduct problems between ethnic minority groups, with White British and Black Caribbean adolescents experiencing an increase in conduct problems over time. Conclusion: These findings suggest that the intersections between air pollution, ethnicity, and racism are important influences on the development of conduct problems in adolescence.

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