A multilevel analysis of perceived noise pollution, geographic contexts and mental health in Beijing

Jing Ma, Chunjiang Li, Mei Po Kwan, Yanwei Chai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


With rapid urbanization and increase in car ownership, ambient noise pollution resulting from diversified sources (e.g., road traffic, railway, commercial services) has become a severe environmental problem in the populated areas in China. However, research on the spatial variation of noise pollution and its potential effects on urban residents’ mental health has to date been quite scarce in developing countries like China. Using a health survey conducted in Beijing in 2017, we for the first time investigated the spatial distributions of multiple noise pollution perceived by residents in Beijing, including road traffic noise, railway (or subway) noise, commercial noise, and housing renovation (or construction) noise. Our results indicate that there is geographic variability in noise pollution at the neighborhood scale, and road traffic and housing renovation/construction are the principal sources of noise pollution in Beijing. We then employed Bayesian multilevel logistic models to examine the associations between diversified noise pollution and urban residents’ mental health symptoms, including anxiety, stress, fatigue, headache, and sleep disturbance, while controlling for a wide range of confounding factors such as socio-demographics, objective built environment characteristics, social environment and geographic context. The results show that perceived higher noise-pollution exposure is significantly associated with worse mental health, while physical environment variables seem to contribute little to variations in self-reported mental disorders, except for proximity to the main road. Social factors or socio-demographic attributes, such as age and income, are significant covariates of urban residents’ mental health, while the social environment (i.e., community attachment) and housing satisfaction are significantly correlated with anxiety and stress. This study provides empirical evidence on the noise-health relationships in the Chinese context and sheds light on the policy implications for environmental pollution mitigation and healthy city development in China.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1479
JournalInternational journal of environmental research and public health
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 13 2018


  • Built environment
  • China
  • Mental disorders
  • Multilevel model
  • Noise pollution

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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