ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

Advances in Psychological Science ›› 2017, Vol. 25 ›› Issue (4): 691-700.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2017.00691

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Adverse effects and theoretical frameworks of air pollution: An environmental psychology perspective

XIANG Peng1; GENG Liuna1; ZHOU Kexin2; CHENG Xiao1   

  1. (1 School of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210023, China) (2 Nanjing Institute of Environmental Sciences, MEP, Nanjing 210042, China)
  • Received:2016-04-18 Online:2017-04-15 Published:2017-04-15
  • Contact: GENG Liuna, E-mail:


In this paper, we reviewed existing scientific literature on adverse effects of air pollution, particularly psychological and behavioral effects, and how these effects are developed under different theoretical frameworks. Collective evidence indicated that air pollution exerts negative effects on human physical health, but also cognitive functions, emotions and behaviors. As for now, two theoretical frameworks have been developed to interpret how air pollution causes a series of adverse effects, framework of environmental stressors and framework of social-environmental interaction. These frameworks arguably stated that adverse effect of air pollution is not only subject to the direct exposure of air pollution, but also individual’s psychosomatic status and he or she how to evaluate air pollution. We also discussed future directions for this line of research for environmental psychologists. Future research is expected to improve research approach, and conduct psychological studies under the framework of environmental stress and risk perception.

Key words: air pollution, risk perception, environmental stressor, adverse effect, environmental psychology