The role of psychological factors in the report of building-related symptoms in sick building syndrome.

Journal of consulting and clinical psychology

PubMedID: 1592950

Bauer RM, Greve KW, Besch EL, Schramke CJ, Crouch J, Hicks A, Ware MR, Lyles WB. The role of psychological factors in the report of building-related symptoms in sick building syndrome. J Consult Clin Psychol. 1992;60(2):213-9.
Sick building syndrome (SBS) is an increasingly common problem, although continued skepticism exists regarding its validity. Because of this, the attribution of complaints to psychogenic causes or mas hysteria persists. In this study (N = 111), self-report measures of psychopathology (Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory [Hathaway & McKinley, 1983] and SCL-90-R [Derogatis, 1983]) and physical symptom reports failed to discriminate symptomatic from nonsymptomatic workers in an affected building but could more generally differentiate workers in the target building from control subjects. These results suggest that SBS cannot be justifiably attributed to psychological factors alone, although working in a contaminated environment appeared to have deleterious psychological consequences for some workers. Smoking history (in pack/years [packs per day x number of years smoked]) was reliably associated with the development of symptoms in exposed workers. Issues related to the assessment of psychological complaints in SBS are discussed.