Association between household air pollution and mental health of older adults in India

the Monday 16 May 2022 at l’Ined dans la salle Sauvy de 11h30 à 12h30 en Hybride (présentiel + possibilité de connexion).

Présenté par : Ritu Rani (ned) ; Discutante : Emilie Counil (Ined)



Air pollution has become a major concern in India. The former studies focusing on air pollution and health were mainly confined to outdoor air pollution. But, in the recent decades, attention has been drawn to indoor air pollution as over half the world’s population, mostly from developing countries, use solid fuel for domestic purposes and are exposed to very high concentrations of harmful air pollutants with potential health effects. Combustion of biomass and coal (collectively called solid fuels) are the dominant sources of household air pollution and may contribute significantly to total burden of the ill health. Furthermore, it becomes much severe for older people not only because of their lower immune system and comorbid conditions as compared to other age-groups but also due to their sedentary life style. Compared with ambient air pollution, little is known about the mental health status in relation to household air pollution, particularly in the Indian context. Therefore, this study makes an attempt to understand the association between household air pollution due to solid fuel use and mental health of older adults in India. So, in this study, mental health is assessed with depression and cognitive abilities. This is a cross-sectional study, using the nationally representative sample from the first wave of the Longitudinal Aging Study in India (LASI) survey. Bivariate and multivariate analyses have been applied to examine the association between household air pollution and mental health variables. Our findings indicate that household air pollution is strongly associated with mental health problems among older adults in India. Higher odds of depression and lower cognitive ability scores were found for older adults in households using solid fuel. The study suggests that household air pollution may be considered as a potential risk factor in influencing the mental health problems. Given the ageing population and a large proportion of solid fuel users in India, there is a pressing need for more research and efforts to inform policy in this area.


Biographie de Ritu Rani

Ritu Rani is pursuing her PhD from the International Institute for Population Sciences, Mumbai, India. Her PhD thesis studies the association between indoor air pollution and health of older adults in India. Her research interest includes social epidemiology, ageing, health, gender and environment related issues in low and middle income countries. She holds M.Phil and Masters degree in Population Sciences. She had many opportunities to present and discuss her research work on various conferences and seminars such as International Population Conference, IUSSP- Population, Poverty and Inequality, Asian Population Conference, ERA-Australia, etc. She is currently engaged at the UR15-DEMOSUD of the Institut national d’études démographiques (Ined) under the Ph.D. mobility program.