Personality, mental distress, and risk perception in subjects with multiple chemical sensitivity and toxic encephalopathy.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Personality, mental distress, and risk perception were assessed in (a) cases of multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS; n = 17), (b) chemically intolerant toxic encephalopathy cases (TE), type 2A (n = 31) and 2B (n = 26), and (c) healthy referents (n = 200). MCS cases showed elevated mental distress scores on the Depression, Interpersonal Sensitivity, Global Severity Index, and Somatization scales in the Symptom Checklist 90 (SCL-90). In the Karolinska Scales of Personality (KSP) the MCS group showed an elevation only on the Psychasthenia scale. Both TE groups showed elevations across the KSP anxiety scales Muscular Tension, Psychasthenia, and Somatic Anxiety. TE type 2B subjects also showed elevations on the Irritability and Indirect Aggression scales. However, neither MCS nor TE groups showed deviating personality characteristics in the Meta Contrast Technique test. Similarly, none of the groups deviated from referents in a risk perception inventory.


  • Kai Österberg
  • Björn Karlson
  • Palle Örbaek
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Psychology


  • Neurotoxicity Syndromes : psychology, Multiple Chemical Sensitivity : psychology, Middle Age, Mental Disorders : psychology, Male, Human, Female, Analysis of Variance, Adult, Personality : physiology, Personality Assessment, Psychiatric Status Rating Scales, Risk Factors, Severity of Illness Index, Sex Factors, Perception : physiology
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)169-175
JournalScandinavian Journal of Psychology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2002
Publication categoryResearch