Date: 11 Nov 2012

Sick building syndrome (SBS) and sick house syndrome (SHS) in relation to psychosocial stress at work in the Swedish workforce

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Abstract

Purpose

Medical symptoms called sick building syndrome (SBS) and sick house syndrome (SHS) are usually investigated separately: in this study, SBS and SHS were explored simultaneously. The significance of personal factors, perceptions of air quality, and psychosocial work situation in explaining SBS and SHS were investigated.

Methods

A random sample of 1,000 subjects (20–65 year) received a postal questionnaire including questions on personal factors, medical symptoms, and the psychosocial demand-control-support model. The response rate was 70 % (n = 695), of which 532 were occupationally active.

Results

In logistic regression models, atopy, poor air quality at work, and low social support, especially low supervisor support, were associated with both SBS and SHS when age, gender, smoking, and BMI were introduced. The general work-related symptoms (headache, tiredness, nausea, and sensation of a cold) were also related to low control over work.

Conclusions

The perception of poor physical environmental conditions is associated with common medical symptoms that are both work and home related. The associations between medical symptoms and poor air quality are still present, even when controlling for the psychosocial environment.