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Gender and the Physical and Psychosocial Work Environments are Related to Indoor Air Symptoms

Bakke, Jan Vilhelm MD; Moen, Bente E. MD, PhD; Wieslander, Gunilla MD, PhD; Norbäck, Dan PhD

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: June 2007 - Volume 49 - Issue 6 - p 641-650
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e31806e5fa0
Original Articles

Objectives: To assess gender differences in self-reported symptoms, psychosocial, subjective, and objective physical environments.

Methods: Staff (N = 173) in four university buildings were investigated by questionnaires, blood samples, and objective assessment of indoor environment (temperature, air velocity, relative humidity, CO2, and dust [PM10]). Analyses were performed by linear and logistic regressions.

Results: Women reported health symptoms more often than did men and complained more about physical but not psychosocial factors. Men's symptoms and complaints were more specifically associated to air velocity and humidity. For both genders, symptoms were related to both strain (P = 0.02) and perceived physical environments (P = 0.01). Lower relative humidity in the range of 15% to 35% was associated with perception of too low temperature and dry air.

Conclusion: Gender, psychosocial, and physical environment factors were related to symptoms and perceived indoor climate.

From the Section for Occupational Medicine (Drs Bakke and Moen), Department of Public Health and Primary Health Care, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway; and the Department of Medical Science (Drs Wieslander and Norbäck), Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden.

Address correspondence to: Dr J. V. Bakke, Section for Occupational Medicine, University of Bergen, Kalfarveien 31, N-5018 Bergen, Norway; E-mail:

©2007The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine