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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(10), 13251-13275; doi:10.3390/ijerph121013251

The Mental Health Outcomes of Drought: A Systematic Review and Causal Process Diagram

1
Department of Environmental Health, Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA
2
Cooperative Institute for Climate and Satellites-NC, Asheville, NC 27695, USA
3
Department of Emergency Medicine, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA 30307, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Jan C. Semenza
Received: 2 September 2015 / Revised: 14 October 2015 / Accepted: 15 October 2015 / Published: 22 October 2015
(This article belongs to the Collection Climate Change and Human Health)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [2258 KB, uploaded 22 October 2015]   |  

Abstract

Little is understood about the long term, indirect health consequences of drought (a period of abnormally dry weather). In particular, the implications of drought for mental health via pathways such as loss of livelihood, diminished social support, and rupture of place bonds have not been extensively studied, leaving a knowledge gap for practitioners and researchers alike. A systematic review of literature was performed to examine the mental health effects of drought. The systematic review results were synthesized to create a causal process diagram that illustrates the pathways linking drought effects to mental health outcomes. Eighty-two articles using a variety of methods in different contexts were gathered from the systematic review. The pathways in the causal process diagram with greatest support in the literature are those focusing on the economic and migratory effects of drought. The diagram highlights the complexity of the relationships between drought and mental health, including the multiple ways that factors can interact and lead to various outcomes. The systematic review and resulting causal process diagram can be used in both practice and theory, including prevention planning, public health programming, vulnerability and risk assessment, and research question guidance. The use of a causal process diagram provides a much needed avenue for integrating the findings of diverse research to further the understanding of the mental health implications of drought. View Full-Text
Keywords: climate change; human health; drought; mental health; causal process diagram climate change; human health; drought; mental health; causal process diagram
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Vins, H.; Bell, J.; Saha, S.; Hess, J.J. The Mental Health Outcomes of Drought: A Systematic Review and Causal Process Diagram. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12, 13251-13275.

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