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 ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2019  |  Volume : 21  |  Issue : 103  |  Page : 248--257

Pathways and contingencies linking road traffic noise to annoyance, noise sensitivity, and mental Ill-Health


1 Department of Hygiene and Ecomedicine, Faculty of Public Health, Medical University of Plovdiv, Plovdiv, Bulgaria
2 Medical College, Medical University of Plovdiv, Plovdiv; Department of Management, Faculty of Economics and Management, University of Agribusiness and Rural Development, Plovdiv, Bulgaria
3 Department of Operative Dentistry and Endodontics, Faculty of Dental Medicine, Medical University of Plovdiv, Plovdiv, Bulgaria
4 Department of Health Management and Healthcare Economics, Faculty of Public Health, Medical University of Plovdiv, Plovdiv, Bulgaria

Correspondence Address:
Angel M Dzhambov
15A Vassil Aprilov Blvd., 4002 Plovdiv
Bulgaria
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/nah.NAH_15_20

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Context: Traffic noise may contribute to depression and anxiety through higher noise annoyance (NA). However, little is known about noise sensitivity (NS) and mental health status as contextual factors. Objective: We tested three hypotheses: (1) Traffic noise is associated with mental ill-health through higher NA; (2) Mental ill-health and NS moderate the association between traffic noise and NA; and (3) NS moderates the indirect effect of traffic noise on mental ill-health. Subjects and Methods: We used a convenience sample of 437 undergraduate students from the Medical University in Plovdiv, Bulgaria (mean age 21 years; 35% male). Residential road traffic noise (LAeq; day equivalent noise level) was calculated using a land use regression model. Depression and anxiety symptoms were measured with the Patient Health Questionnaire 9-item (PHQ-9) and the Generalized Anxiety Disorder 7-item (GAD-7) scale, respectively. NA was measured using a 5-point verbal scale. The Noise Sensitivity Scale Short Form (NSS-SF) was used to measure NS. To investigate how these variables intertwine, we conducted mediation, moderation and moderated mediation analyses. Results: LAeq was indirectly associated with higher PHQ-9/GAD-7 scores through higher NA, but only in the low NS group. The relationship between LAeq and NA was stronger in students reporting depression/anxiety. While high NS was associated with high NA even at low noise levels, LAeq contributed to NA only in students low on NS. Conclusions: We found complex conditional relationships between traffic noise, annoyance and mental ill-health. Understanding respective vulnerability profiles within the community could aid noise policy and increase efficacy of interventions.






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