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Mass psychogenic illness in a shoe factory: a case report.

Authors
Murphy-LR; Colligan-MJ
Source
Int Arch Occup Environ Health 1979 Sep; 44(3):133-138
NIOSHTIC No.
00117470
Abstract
A case history of industrial mass psychogenic illness is reported. About 75 employees of a shoe factory (SIC-3143) reported symptoms of headache, lightheadedness, and dizziness on two separate occasions within a 1 week period. Air samples were collected and analyzed, affected workers were interviewed, and questionnaires were distributed to a random sample of workers. Extensive environmental testing failed to identify any toxic agents. Physicians characterized the physical symptomatology as hyperventilation syndrome, suggesting a psychogenic as opposed to a toxicological etiology. Most survey variables that correlated with the illness, pertained to work environment factors; these included dissatisfaction with physical characteristics of the workplace, overtime pressures, and workload dissatisfaction. Workers who witnessed others become ill also reported experiencing more symptoms. The authors conclude that the outbreak represents a case of industrial mass psychogenic illness precipitated by a combination of physical and psychological job and life stressors.
Keywords
NIOSH-Author; Case-studies; Occupational-medicine; Industrial-psychology; Physical-stress; Psychological-stress; Psychological-disorders; Industrial-hygiene; Psychological-factors; Author Keywords: Psychogenic illness; Epidemic; Industry; Stress
CODEN
IAEHDW
Publication Date
19790901
Document Type
Journal Article
Fiscal Year
1979
NTIS Accession No.
NTIS Price
Issue of Publication
3
ISSN
0340-0131
NIOSH Division
DBBS
Priority Area
Psychologic Disorders; Psychological-disorders
SIC Code
3143
Source Name
International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health
State
OH
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