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Type: Journal Article
Author(s): Maria C. Mirabelli; Ambarish Vaidyanathan; Audrey F. Pennington; Dongni Ye; Carol A. Trenga
Publication Date: 2022

The physical and mental health impacts of wildfires are wide-ranging. We assessed associations between exposure to wildfire smoke and self-reported symptoms affecting mental health among adults living in Oregon. We linked by interview date and county of residence survey responses from 5807 adults who responded to the 2018 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System's depression and anxiety module with smoke plume density, a proxy for wildfires and wildfire smoke exposure. Associations between weeks in the past year with medium and heavy smoke plume densities and symptoms affecting mental health during the two weeks before the interview date were estimated using predicted marginal probabilities from logistic regression models. In the year before completing the interview, 100% of respondents experienced ≥2 weeks of medium or heavy smoke, with an average exposure duration of 32 days. Nearly 10% reported being unable to stop or control their worrying more than half the time over the past two weeks. Medium or heavy smoke for 6 or more weeks in the past year, compared to ≤4 weeks in the past year, was associated with a 30% higher prevalence of being unable to stop or control worrying more than half the time during the past two weeks (prevalence ratio: 1.30, 95% confidence interval: 1.03, 1.65). Among adults in Oregon, selected symptoms affecting mental health were associated with extended durations of medium and heavy smoke. These findings highlight the burden of such symptoms among adults living in communities affected by wildfires and wildfire smoke.

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Citation: Mirabelli, Maria C.; Vaidyanathan, Ambarish; Pennington, Audrey F.; Ye, Dongni; Trenga, Carol A. 2022. Wildfire smoke and symptoms affecting mental health among adults in the U.S. state of Oregon. Preventive Medicine 164:107333.

Cataloging Information

  • anxiety
  • depression
  • epidemiology
  • mental health
  • Oregon
  • smoke exposure
  • surveillance
  • wildfire
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Record Maintained By: FRAMES Staff (
FRAMES Record Number: 66853