Longitudinal Analysis of Particulate Air Pollutants and Adolescent Delinquent Behavior in Southern California
Animal experiments and cross-sectional human studies have linked particulate matter (PM) with increased behavioral problems. We conducted a longitudinal study to examine whether the trajectories of delinquent behavior are affected by PM2.5 (PM with aerodynamic diameter ≤ 2.5 μm) exposures before and during adolescence. We used the parent-reported Child Behavior Checklist at age 9–18 with repeated measures every ~2–3 years (up to 4 behavioral assessments) on 682 children from the Risk Factors for Antisocial Behavior Study conducted in a multi-ethnic cohort of twins born in 1990–1995. Based on prospectively-collected residential addresses and a spatiotemporal model of ambient air concentrations in Southern California, monthly PM2.5 estimates were aggregated to represent long-term (1-, 2-, 3-year average) exposures preceding baseline and cumulative average exposure until the last assessment. Multilevel mixed-effects models were used to examine the association between PM2.5 exposure and individual trajectories of delinquent behavior, adjusting for within-family/within-individual correlations and potential confounders. We also examined whether psychosocial factors modified this association. The results sμggest that PM2.5 exposure at baseline and cumulative exposure during follow-up was significantly associated (p < 0.05) with increased delinquent behavior. The estimated effect sizes (per interquartile increase of PM2.5 by 3.12–5.18 μg/m3) were equivalent to the difference in delinquency scores between adolescents who are 3.5–4 years apart in age. The adverse effect was stronger in families with unfavorable parent-to-child relationships, increased parental stress or maternal depressive symptoms. Overall, these findings sμggest long-term PM2.5 exposure may increase delinquent behavior of urban-dwelling adolescents, with the resulting neurotoxic effect aggravated by psychosocial adversities.
KeywordsAdolescence Delinquency Ambient fine particles Environmental exposures Epidemiologic studies Longitudinal studies
This work was supported by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (R21 ES022369 and F31 ES025080) and the Southern California Environmental Health Sciences Center (5P30ES007048). The USC Twin Cohort Study is funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (R01 MH058354). The authors thank the staff and participants of the USC Twin Cohort Study for their time and effort.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interest
The authors report no conflicts of interests.
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
Informed consent (assent for children) was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
- Achenbach, T. M., & Rescorla, L. (2001). ASEBA school-age forms & profiles: Aseba Burlington.Google Scholar
- Allen, J. L., Liu, X., Weston, D., Prince, L., Oberdörster, G., Finkelstein, J. N., et al. (2014). Developmental exposure to concentrated ambient ultrafine particulate matter air pollution in mice results in persistent and sex-dependent behavioral neurotoxicity and glial activation. Toxicological Sciences, 140(1), 160–178.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
- Baker, L. A., Jacobson, K. C., Raine, A., Lozano, D. I., & Bezdjian, S. (2007). Genetic and environmental bases of childhood antisocial behavior: A multi-informant twin study. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 116(2), 219–235. https://doi.org/10.1037/0021-843x.116.2.219.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
- Bolton, J. L., Huff, N. C., Smith, S. H., Mason, S. N., Foster, W. M., Auten, R. L., et al. (2013). Maternal stress and effects of prenatal air pollution on offspring mental health outcomes in mice. Environmental Health Perspectives, 121(9), 1075–1082. https://doi.org/10.1289/ehp.1306560.PubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
- Carroll, L., Perez, M. M., & Taylor, R. M. (2014). The evidence for violence prevention across the lifespan and around the world: workshop summary. Washington, D.C.: National Academies Press.Google Scholar
- Chiu, Y. H., Bellinger, D. C., Coull, B. A., Anderson, S., Barber, R., Wright, R. O., et al. (2013). Associations between traffic-related black carbon exposure and attention in a prospective birth cohort of urban children. Environmental Health Perspectives, 121(7), 859–864. https://doi.org/10.1289/ehp.1205940.PubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
- Chiu, Y. H., Hsu, H. H., Coull, B. A., Bellinger, D. C., Kloog, I., Schwartz, J., et al. (2016). Prenatal particulate air pollution and neurodevelopment in urban children: Examining sensitive windows and sex-specific associations. Environment International, 87, 56–65. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envint.2015.11.010.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Davis, D. A., Bortolato, M., Godar, S. C., Sander, T. K., Iwata, N., Pakbin, P., et al. (2013). Prenatal exposure to urban air nanoparticles in mice causes altered neuronal differentiation and depression-like responses. PLoS One, 8(5), e64128. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0064128.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
- Diggle, P., Heagerty, P., Liang, K. Y., & Zeger, S. (2002). Analysis of longitudinal data (2nd ed.). New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Fonken, L. K., Xu, X., Weil, Z. M., Chen, G., Sun, Q., Rajagopalan, S., et al. (2011). Air pollution impairs cognition, provokes depressive-like behaviors and alters hippocampal cytokine expression and morphology. Molecular Psychiatry, 16(10), 987–995, 973. https://doi.org/10.1038/mp.2011.76.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
- Forns, J., Dadvand, P., Foraster, M., Alvarez-Pedrerol, M., Rivas, I., Lopez-Vicente, M., et al. (2015). Traffic-related air pollution, noise at school, and behavioral problems in Barcelona schoolchildren: A cross-sectional study. Environmental Health Perspectives. https://doi.org/10.1289/ehp.1409449.
- Gauderman, W. J., Gilliland, G. F., Vora, H., Avol, E., Stram, D., McConnell, R., et al. (2002). Association between air pollution and lung function growth in southern California children: Results from a second cohort. American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, 166(1), 76–84. https://doi.org/10.1164/rccm.2111021.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Harris, K. (2014). Crime in California, 2014. Sacramento: Office of the Attorney General.Google Scholar
- Haynes, E. N., Chen, A., Ryan, P., Succop, P., Wright, J., & Dietrich, K. N. (2011). Exposure to airborne metals and particulate matter and risk for youth adjudicated for criminal activity. Environmental Research, 111(8), 1243–1248. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envres.2011.08.008.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Hofstra, M. B., Van der Ende, J. A. N., & Verhulst, F. C. (2000). Continuity and change of psychopathology from childhood into adulthood: A 14-year follow-up study. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 39(7), 850–858. https://doi.org/10.1097/00004583-200007000-00013.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Howards, P. P., Schisterman, E. F., Poole, C., Kaufman, J. S., & Weinberg, C. R. (2012). "Toward a clearer definition of confounding" revisited with directed acyclic graphs. American Journal of Epidemiology, 176(6), 506–511. https://doi.org/10.1093/aje/kws127.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
- Margolis, A. E., Herbstman, J. B., Davis, K. S., Thomas, V. K., Tang, D., Wang, Y., et al. (2016). Longitudinal effects of prenatal exposure to air pollutants on self-regulatory capacities and social competence. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry. https://doi.org/10.1111/jcpp.12548.
- McEwen, B. S., & Tucker, P. (2011). Critical biological pathways for chronic psychosocial stress and research opportunities to advance the consideration of stress in chemical risk assessment. American Journal of Public Health, 101(Suppl 1), S131–S139. https://doi.org/10.2105/ajph.2011.300270.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
- Newman, N. C., Ryan, P., Lemasters, G., Levin, L., Bernstein, D., Hershey, G. K., et al. (2013). Traffic-related air pollution exposure in the first year of life and behavioral scores at 7 years of age. Environmental Health Perspectives, 121(6), 731–736. https://doi.org/10.1289/ehp.1205555.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
- Office of Women’s Health. (2009). California adolescent health 2009. Sacramento: California Department of Health Care Services & California Department of Public Health.Google Scholar
- Peterson, B. S., Rauh, V. A., Bansal, R., et al. (2015). EFfects of prenatal exposure to air pollutants (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) on the development of brain white matter, cognition, and behavior in later childhood. JAMA Psychiatry, 72(6), 531–540. https://doi.org/10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2015.57.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
- Petteruti, A. (2011). Education under arrest: The case against police in schools. Washington, D.C.: Justice Policy Institute.Google Scholar
- Rauh, V. A., Horton, M. K., Miller, R. L., Whyatt, R. M., & Perera, F. (2010). Neonatology and the environment: Impact of early exposure to airborne environmental toxicants on infant and child neurodevelopment. NeoReviews, 11, 363–369. https://doi.org/10.1542/neo.11-7-e363.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
- Shaw, C. R., & McKay, H. D. (1942). Juvenile delinquency in urban areas. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
- South Coast Air Quality Management District (2013). Final 2012 Air Quality Management Plan. http://www.aqmd.gov/home/library/clean-air-plans/air-quality-mgt-plan/final-2012-air-quality-management-plan.. Accessed 22 Apr 2016.
- United States Census Bureau (2012). Growth in urban population outpaces rest of nation, census bureau reports. Available online: https://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/2010_census/cb12-50.html. Accessed 28 Oct 2015.
- Wood, S. (2006). Generalized additive models: an introduction with R. Boca Raton: CRC Press.Google Scholar