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Medicine (Baltimore). 2020 Feb;99(9):e19294. doi: 10.1097/MD.0000000000019294.

Physical symptoms and mental health status in deep underground miners: A cross-sectional study.

Xie H1,2,3, Liu J1,4, Gao M1,3, Liu Y1, Ma T1,4, Lu Y2, Li C2, Wang M2, Zhang R2, Wu J1, Zou J1,4, Liu S1,4, Li W1.

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Deep Underground Space Medical Center, West China Hospital.
College of Water Resources and Hydropower, Sichuan University, Chengdu.
Institute of Deep Earth Science and Green Energy, Shenzhen University, Shenzhen.
Department of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery, West China Hospital, Sichuan University, Chengdu, China.


The aim of the present study was to reveal the physical symptom changes and their correlations with mental health status in deep underground miners.A total of 286 deep underground miners completed a cross-sectional questionnaire study at China Pingmei Shenma mine complex. The questionnaire included sociodemographics, self-reported physical symptoms, underground adverse environmental factors, and the Symptom Checklist-90-Revised (SCL-90-R). Five environmental parameters of 1 deep mine were also measured.Data from 266 valid questionnaires were analyzed. The 3 most frequent complaints about underground adverse conditions were moisture [62.03% (165/266)], dim light [45.86% (122/266)], and high temperature [42.11% (112/266)]. Fatigue [40.22% (107/266)], hearing loss [34.96% (93/266)], and tinnitus [31.58% (84/266)] were reported to be the three most common physical symptoms. Insomnia was reported in 204 participants (76.69%) mainly due to the difficulty of falling asleep [42.35% (84/204)] and dreams [39.70% (81/204)]. Mean scores of SCL-90-R subscales including somatization, anxiety, phobic anxiety, psychoticism, and paranoid ideation were elevated compared to Chinese norms, while there was diminished interpersonal sensitivity. Univariate analyses indicated that the 3 most common physical symptoms were associated with poorer SCL-90-R scores. With increasing depth below ground, air pressure, relative humidity, CO2 concentration and temperature rose, while total gamma radiation dose-rate decreased.The physical and mental health status of deep underground miners was poorer than the general Chinese male population. Some adverse environmental factors were identified that may have influenced health status. Measures are suggested to improve the deep underground working environment.

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