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Three incidents of industrial mass psychogenic illness.
Smith MJ; Colligan MJ; Hurrell JJ Jr.
J Occup Med 1978 Jun; 20(6):399-400
The preliminary findings of three investigations of separate occurrences of industrial mass psychogenic illness are presented to provide information on the characteristics and nature of mass psychogenic illness and to indicate some of the similarities in the incidents. The majority of employees were female and the symptoms were primarily subjective somatic complaints, including headaches, nausea, and chills. The actual outbreak of complaints was usually triggered by a physical stimulus, such as an odor, which was believed by the workers to be the source of the discomfort. The affected workers were found to have more discomfort from physical and psychological stressors (work pace, poor lighting, noise, role ambiguity, boredom). It is suggested that peer and supervisory relations are important as potential precipitators of mass psychogenic illness in an industrial setting.
NIOSH-Author; Psychosomatic-medicine; Satisfaction; Psychological-factors; Environmental-factors; Morale; Personality-traits; Industrial-operations
Michael J. Smith, U.S. Department of Health. Education, and Welfare, Public Health Service, Center for Disease Control, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, 4676 Columbia Parkway, Cincinnati, OH 45226
Issue of Publication
Journal of Occupational Medicine
Page last reviewed: November 20, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division