Environmental Health and Preventive Medicine

, Volume 15, Issue 3, pp 141–150

Attention to bodily sensations and symptom perception in individuals with idiopathic environmental intolerance

Authors

    • The Danish Research Centre for Chemical Sensitivities, Department of Dermato-Allergology, Gentofte HospitalUniversity of Copenhagen
  • Robert Zachariae
    • Psychooncology Research UnitAarhus University Hospital
  • Alice Rasmussen
    • Psychiatric Centre, Bispebjerg HospitalUniversity of Copenhagen
  • Jeanne Duus Johansen
    • The National Allergy Research Centre, Department of Dermato-Allergology, Gentofte HospitalUniversity of Copenhagen
  • Jesper Elberling
    • The Danish Research Centre for Chemical Sensitivities, Department of Dermato-Allergology, Gentofte HospitalUniversity of Copenhagen
Regular Article

DOI: 10.1007/s12199-009-0120-y

Cite this article as:
Skovbjerg, S., Zachariae, R., Rasmussen, A. et al. Environ Health Prev Med (2010) 15: 141. doi:10.1007/s12199-009-0120-y

Abstract

Introduction

Idiopathic environmental intolerance (IEI) is characterized by non-specific symptoms attributed to exposure to environmental odours or chemicals at levels below those known to induce adverse health effects. A clarification of whether psychological processes involved in sensory perceptions are associated with IEI would add to our understanding of this complex disorder.

Purpose

To examine if measures of somato-sensory amplification, autonomic perception and absorption are associated with IEI.

Methods

The study included individuals with self-reported or physician-diagnosed IEI. Participants (n = 732) completed questionnaires that included items on descriptive variables of IEI, the Somato-Sensory Amplification Scale (SSAS), the Autonomic Perception Questionnaire (APQ), the Tellegen Absorption Scale (TAS) and a Negative Affectivity Scale (NAS).

Results

Multiple, hierarchical linear regression analyses revealed significant positive associations between SSAS, APQ, and IEI, while small and inverse associations were seen between TAS and IEI.

Conclusions

The association with SSAS and APQ suggests that perceptual personality characteristics are important in understanding this disorder.

Keywords

AbsorptionAutonomic perceptionChemical sensitivityIdiopathic environmental intoleranceSomato-sensory amplification

Abbreviations

APQ

Autonomic Perception Questionnaire

CHS

Chemical Hypersensitivity Scale

CNSS

CNS Symptom Scale

CSAS

Consequences for Social Activities Scale

CSS-SHR

The Chemical Sensitivity Scale for sensory hyper-reactivity

IEI

Idiopathic environmental intolerance

MUSS

Mucosal Symptom Scale

NAS

Negative Affectivity Scale

SSAS

Somato-Sensory Amplification Scale

TAS

Tellegen Absorption Scale

Copyright information

© The Japanese Society for Hygiene 2009