A short chemical sensitivity scale for assessment of airway sensory hyperreactivity

  • Steven Nordin
  • Eva Millqvist
  • Olle Löwhagen
  • Mats Bende
Original Article



A short version of the 21-item Chemical Sensitivity Scale (CSS), called the Chemical Sensitivity Scale for Sensory Hyperreactivity (CSS-SHR), was developed and evaluated for the quantifying of self-reported affective reactions to and behavioral disruptions in daily activities by odorous/pungent substances among patients with sensory hyperreactivity (SHR) for clinical and epidemiological studies.


Twenty-two patients with clinically diagnosed SHR and 124 control participants responded to the CSS and to additional questions about chemical sensitivity for the evaluation of the CSS-SHR.


Eleven of the 21 items of the CSS were selected, on statistical grounds, to constitute the CSS-SHR, which was found to generate approximately normal distributions, have good test–retest reliability (rxy=0.87), satisfying internal consistency (rα=0.76–0.84) and predictive and concurrent validity, and to be uni-dimensional. The metric properties of the CSS-SHR were, despite its few items, comparable with those of the CSS. A proposed diagnostic cut-off score for SHR demonstrated a high correct classification rate (92%) for the CSS-SHR.


The favorable metric properties of the CSS-SHR and its sensitivity/specificity suggests that it is useful for clinical diagnosis and epidemiological study of sensory hyperreactivity in combination with other diagnostic tools.


Multiple chemical sensitivity Odor intolerance Sensory irritation 

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Steven Nordin
    • 1
    • 2
  • Eva Millqvist
    • 3
  • Olle Löwhagen
    • 3
  • Mats Bende
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUmeå UniversityUmeåSweden
  2. 2.Department of Occupational and Environmental MedicineÖrebro University HospitalÖrebroSweden
  3. 3.Asthma and Allergy Research GroupSahlgrenska University HospitalGothenburgSweden
  4. 4.Department of OtorhinolaryngologyCentral HospitalSkövdeSweden

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