Correlation Between Climate Change and Dysphoria in Primary Care

WMJ. 2019 Jul;118(2):71-74.


Background: Concern about climate change may affect mental health. We evaluated the relationship between primary care patients' attitudes toward climate change and dysphoria.

Methods: In 2013, we surveyed 571 adult primary care patients in southern Wisconsin. Attitudes toward climate change were measured using a 46-point composite of 9 questions. Dysphoria was measured using a 13-point composite summing the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-2) and the Generalized Anxiety Disorder scale (GAD-2).

Results: Patients frequently reported concern about climate change and 22.5% experienced dysphoria. A significant, positive correlation existed between the composite climate change score and the dysphoria score (rs=0.345; P<0.001).

Conclusion: Primary care patients are concerned about climate change and this concern is positively related to dysphoria. The level to which dysphoria is due to climate change should be elucidated.

MeSH terms

  • Anxiety / diagnosis*
  • Climate Change*
  • Depression / diagnosis*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Primary Health Care*
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Stress, Psychological / diagnosis*
  • Wisconsin