Jonathan L. Temte, MD, PhD; John R. Holzhauer, MD; Kenneth P. Kushner, PhD
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.