A short Chemical Sensitivity Scale for assessment of airway sensory hyperreactivity

Int Arch Occup Environ Health. 2004 May;77(4):249-54. doi: 10.1007/s00420-004-0504-7. Epub 2004 Mar 16.


Objectives: 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.

Methods: 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.

Results: 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 (r(xy)=0.87), satisfying internal consistency (r(alpha)=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.

Conclusions: 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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bronchial Hyperreactivity / diagnosis*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multiple Chemical Sensitivity / diagnosis*
  • Psychometrics
  • Reproducibility of Results