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The Idiopathic Environmental Intolerance Symptom Inventory: Development, Evaluation, and Application

Andersson, Maria J. E. MSc; Andersson, Linus MSc; Bende, Mats MD, PhD; Millqvist, Eva MD, PhD; Nordin, Steven PhD

Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine: July 2009 - Volume 51 - Issue 7 - pp 838-847
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e3181a7f021
Original Articles

Objective: To develop, evaluate, and apply a questionnaire-based instrument for investigation of specific symptoms in idiopathic environmental intolerance (IEI), called the Idiopathic Environmental Intolerance Symptom Inventory (IEISI).

Methods: Participants with IEI to chemicals responded to 82 candidate symptoms and to three subscales of the Quick Environmental Exposure and Sensitivity Inventory (QEESI) at a test (n = 207) and retest (n = 193) occasion.

Results: The 27 most commonly reported symptoms were selected and grouped into five symptom categories. Internal consistency, test–retest reliability, and concurrent validity were found to be satisfying. Cluster analysis identified two subgroups of IEI to chemicals.

Conclusions: The results provide support for the IEISI being a reliable, valid, and fast tool for the study of specific symptom prevalence in IEI and encourage further study of subgroups.

From the Department of Psychology (Ms Andersson, Mr Andersson, Dr Nordin), Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden; the Department of Otorhinolaryngology (Dr Bende), Central Hospital, Skövde, Sweden; Asthma and Allergy Research Group (Dr Millqvist), Sahlgrenska University Hospital Gothenburg, Sweden; and Department of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (Dr Nordin), Örebro University Hospital, Örebro, Sweden.

Address correspondence to: Steven Nordin, PhD, Department of Psychology, Umeå University, SE-901 87 Umeå, Sweden; E-mail:

©2009The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine