The Mental Health Consequences of Rat Exposure

By Raymond Lam, Kaylee A. Byers, Chelsea G. Himsworth: For More Info, Go Here…

Key findings

  • Rat exposure negatively affected residents’ mental health. Awareness of an infestation and direct exposure to rats were both cited as mental health stressors and drivers of anxiety among residents.
  • A three-year longitudinal study of residents living in multifamily buildings in Waterbury, Connecticut, found that residents with rat infestations had poorer mental health than those without rat infestations, and rat exposure triggered headaches, dizziness, and stomachaches.
  • A qualitative study of Baltimore residents found that residents who reported daily rat sightings and perceived rat infestations to be most problematic reported greater depressive symptoms than residents exposed to rats less frequently.
  • Perceptions of rat exposure were linked with other neighborhood-level environmental stressors. Residents who perceived rat infestations as problematic also lived on blocks with other indicators of neighborhood disorder, such as vacant properties.
  • In two studies, researchers found that landlords’ inaction in dealing with rodent infestations elevated tenant stress levels, and, in some cases, conflicts over rat infestations led to verbal abuse and threats of eviction.

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