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J Psychosom Res. 2016 May;84:8-12. doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychores.2016.03.006. Epub 2016 Mar 10.

Psychological symptoms and health-related quality of life in idiopathic environmental intolerance attributed to electromagnetic fields.

Author information

1
Department of Psychology, Umeå University, Sweden.
2
Department of Psychology, Umeå University, Sweden. Electronic address: steven.nordin@umu.se.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

Need for better understanding of the etiology of idiopathic environmental intolerance attributed to electromagnetic fields (IEI-EMF) motivated the present study of psychological symptoms and health-related quality of life (HRQoL) in person who attribute health problems to electromagnetic fields.

METHODS:

Participants with IEI-EMF (n=114) and a population-based sample of referents (n=104) were investigated with six subscales of the Symptom Checklist 90 (SCL-90) to assess psychological symptoms, and with eight subscales of the Short Form (36) Health Survey (SF-36) to assess HRQoL.

RESULTS:

Significantly higher scores were found on obsessive/compulsive behavior, interpersonal hypersensitivity, hostility, phobic anxiety, paranoid thoughts in the IEI-EMF group compared to referents, whereas only a tendency of such a difference was found for psychotism. Furthermore, poorer HRQoL in the IEI-EMF group, compared to referents, were found regarding physical and social functioning, physical and emotional role limitations, general health, vitality, bodily pain, and mental health. Significant correlation with moderate to strong effect sizes were found between several of the SCL-90 and SF-36 subscales.

CONCLUSION:

The results suggest that IEI-EMF is associated with various types of psychological symptoms and with poor HRQoL. Clinical implications include theoretical support for cognitive behavioral therapy, and, although further research is needed, that attention should be directed towards feelings of inferiority and uneasiness in relationships as well as anger, hostility and resentment towards other people.

KEYWORDS:

Electromagnetic fields; Environmental illness; Perceived electromagnetic hypersensitivity; Quality of life; Symptomatology

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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