Preprint / Version 1

The Impact of Air Quality on Students Academics, Motivation and Mental Health


  • Tithi Raval Irvington High School



Air Quality, Academic performance, Particulate matter, AQI, PM 2.5, Pollutants


Poor air quality is a serious global issue, affecting all of the human population. The sources and mechanisms by which pollutants contribute to poor air quality are well documented, as are the associated deleterious health impacts. This paper focuses on a public health aspect of air quality science, asking how air quality affects students’ academics, motivation, and mental health – as it will review current learnings within these specific fields as well as an investigated and analyzed experiment to expand on these findings. Many sources and studies concluded that poor air quality is associated with lower academic success, and degrades mental health in students and adolescents. This paper considers the academic performance, mental health, and motivation of students who may be exposed to poor air quality. These areas are evaluated using a self-assessment questionnaire. The questionnaire is directed toward teenage students from various environments and geographical locations, to assess if outdoor air quality affects high school-age students' academics, motivation, and mental health. The main objective of this study was to answer the following question: How does outdoor air quality affect students' academics, motivation, and mental health? A hypothesis suggests that with better air quality, students would be more productive and motivated to score higher on exams and also show better mental health quality. The results of the experiment were documented and statistically analyzed to draw conclusions based on the collected dataset of responses from the questionnaire. An interpretation of the results followed to find correlations between air quality and students’ academics and their mental well-being. The study results indicated that in areas of poor air quality, students’ were relatively unproductive, demotivated, and experienced weaker mental health in terms of restlessness, stress, anxiety, and depression. 


Air Pollution and Your Health. (2023, December 13). National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.

AQI Basics. (n.d.). AirNow.

Black Carbon Research and Future Strategies. (2011, October). US EPA.

Criteria Air Pollutants. (2023, November 30). US EPA.

Fuller, R. (2022, May 15). Pollution and health: a progress update. The Lancet Planetary Health, 6(6).

How Does PM Affect Human Health? (2024, January 19). US EPA.

Inhalable Particulate Matter and Health (PM 2.5 and PM10). (n.d.). California Air Resources Board.

Kamaldeep Bhui, Newbury, J. B., Latham, R. M., Ucci, M., Nasir, Z. A., Turner, B., O’Leary, C., Fisher, H. L., Marczylo, E., Douglas, P., Stansfeld, S., Jackson, S. K., Tyrrel, S., Andrey Rzhetsky, Kinnersley, R., Kumar, P., Duchaine, C., & Coulon, F. (2023). Air Quality and Mental Health: Evidence, Challenges and Future Directions, 9(4). /bjo.2023.507

Kameda, K., Murakami S., Kaneko T., Ito, K., & Hiwatashi, K. (n.d.). Study on Productivity in the Classroom (Part 4) Effects of Indoor Environmental Quality on Motivation and Performance for Learning. Research Gate, STUDY_ON_PRODUCTIVITY_IN_THE_CLASSROOM_PART4_EFFECTS_OF_INDOOR_ENVIRONMENTAL_QUALITY_ON_MOTIVATION_AND_PERFORMANCE_FOR_LEARNING/links/58c10e0da6fdcc0645426264/STUDY-ON-PRODUCTIVITY-IN-THE-CLASSROOM-PART4-EFFECTS-OF-INDOOR-ENVIRONMENTAL-QUALITY-ON-MOTIVATION-AND-PERFORMANCE-FOR-LEARNING.pdf.

Lu, W., Hackman, D. A., & Schwartz, J. (2021, November 3). Ambient air pollution associated with lower academic achievement among US children. Environmental Epidemiology, 5(6), e174.

Manisalidis, I., Stavropoulou, E., Stavropoulos, A., & Bezirtzoglou, E. (2020, February 20). Environmental and Health Impacts of Air Pollution: A Review. Frontiers in Public Health,

Nolte, C. G., Dolwick, P. D., Fann, N., Horowitz, L. W., Naik, V., Pinder, R. W., Spero, T. L., Winner, D. A., & Ziska, L. H. (2018). Chapter 13: Air Quality. National Climate Assessment,

PurpleAir. (n.d.). Retrieved December 2023, from p604800/cC0#6.6/40.133/-75.623

Weir, K. (2012, July 7). Smog in our brains. American Psychological Association, 43(7), 32.