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The environmental hypersensitivity symptom inventory: metric properties and normative data from a population-based study
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Dermatology and Venerology.
2013 (English)In: Archives of Public Health, ISSN 0778-7367, E-ISSN 2049-3258, Vol. 71, no 18, 1-10 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

BACKGROUND: High concomitant intolerance attributed to odorous/pungent chemicals, certain buildings, electromagnetic fields (EMF), and everyday sounds calls for a questionnaire instrument that can assess symptom prevalence in various environmental intolerances. The Environmental Hypersensitivity Symptom Inventory (EHSI) was therefore developed and metrically evaluated, and normative data were established. The EHSI consists of 34 symptom items, requires limited time to respond to, and provides a detailed and broad description of the individual's symptomology.

METHODS: Data from 3406 individuals who took part in the Vasterbotten Environmental Health Study were used. The participants constitute a random sample of inhabitants in the county of Vasterbotten in Sweden, aged 18 to 79 years, stratified for age and gender.

RESULTS: Exploratory factor analysis identified five significant factors: airway symptoms (9 items; Kuder-Richardson Formula 20 coefficient, KR-20, of internal consistency = 0.74), skin and eye symptoms (6 items; KR-20 = 0.60), cardiac, dizziness and nausea symptoms (4 items; KR-20 = 0.55), head-related and gastrointestinal symptoms (5 items; KR-20 = 0.55), and cognitive and affective symptoms (10 items; KR-20 = 0.80). The KR-20 was 0.85 for the entire 34-item EHSI. Symptom prevalence rates in percentage for having the specific symptoms every week over the preceding three months constitute normative data.

CONCLUSIONS: The EHSI can be recommended for assessment of symptom prevalence in various types of environmental hypersensitivity, and with the advantage of comparing prevalence rates with normality.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
BioMed Central Ltd. , 2013. Vol. 71, no 18, 1-10 p.
Keyword [en]
Chemical intolerance, Electromagnetic fields, Hyperacusis, Idiopathic environmental intolerance, Prevalence, Sick building syndrome
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-81475DOI: 10.1186/0778-7367-71-18OAI: diva2:655699
Available from: 2013-10-13 Created: 2013-10-13 Last updated: 2015-12-16Bibliographically approved

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