Sick building syndrome: psychological, somatic, and environmental determinants

Arch Environ Occup Health. 2007 Fall;62(3):147-55. doi: 10.3200/AEOH.62.3.147-155.


The authors aimed to examine potential relationships between work-related symptoms attributed to sick building syndrome (SBS) and certain psychological, somatic, and environmental factors. The multidisciplinary, cross-sectional study comprised 171 female subjects working in air-conditioned and naturally ventilated nonindustrial office buildings. The authors collected information concerning symptoms related to SBS and made assessments of quality of life by using appropriate questionnaires. They assessed the women's levels of emotional stability or neuroticism using the Cornell Index. They determined skin and airway reactivity markers and indoor microclimate data by using standardized methods. The study showed that the subjects had a high prevalence of fatigue (60.2%), sore and dry eyes (57.9%), and headache (44.4%), as well as a generally high score according to the SBS Index. Neuroticism and subjectively estimated physical health as well as the type of building ventilation significantly contributed to the prediction of the SBS Index, explaining 15% of the variance.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Emotions
  • Environmental Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Hypersensitivity, Immediate / epidemiology
  • Hypersensitivity, Immediate / etiology
  • Mental Health
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Quality of Life
  • Sick Building Syndrome / epidemiology
  • Sick Building Syndrome / etiology*
  • Sick Building Syndrome / psychology*
  • Smoking
  • Ventilation