Personality, mental distress, and subjective health complaints among persons with environmental annoyance.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The aim of this study was to assess possible early determinants of idiopathic environmental intolerance (IEI), contributing to an integrated model for the development of IEI. Questionnaires concerning personality traits, current mental distress, subjective health complaints, work load and satisfaction, and options for recovery, were given to 84 persons from the general population attributing annoyance to (i) chemicals/smells (smell-annoyed (SA) n=29); (ii) electrical equipment (electrically annoyed (EA) n=16); and (iii) both smells and electricity (generally annoyed [GA] n=39), but otherwise healthy and in active work. Compared to referents (n=54), the EA and GA groups showed strongly elevated scores on 5/6 scales within the trait anxiety/ neuroticism personality dimension, while the SA group had a slight elevation on only one anxiety scale. Current mental distress and subjective health complaints scores were generally elevated in the EA and GA groups, but only partially in the SA group. Higher proportions of the EA, GA, and SA groups reported low satisfaction with their work situation, including more frequent fatigue after work and a higher, and often unfulfilled, need for recovery. The findings suggest that trait anxiety is prominent already at prodromal stages of IEI, possibly indicating that trait anxiety facilitates the acquisition of attribution of health complaints to environmental factors.

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Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Environmental Health and Occupational Health

Keywords

  • diopathic environmental intolerance, electrical hypersensitivity, multiple chemical sensitivity
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)231-241
JournalHuman & Experimental Toxicology
Volume26
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2007
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes