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Risk perception, somatization, and self report of complaints related to electromagnetic fields - A randomized survey study


Frick, Ulrich; Rehm, Jürgen; Eichhammer, P (2002). Risk perception, somatization, and self report of complaints related to electromagnetic fields - A randomized survey study. International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health, 205(5):353-360.

Abstract

Exposure to electromagnetic fields (EMF) as well as EMF-related complaints has increased over the past decades. However, it is unclear whether these complaints are related to the electromagnetic or other physical properties of these fields per se, to salience of EMF in media, or to both. What is the prevalence of EMF-related complaints in the general population? What are the influencing factors on this prevalence? Does reporting of EMF-related symptoms depend on cognitive factors? To answer these questions, a survey with random variation of three cognitive factors was performed. As expected, EMF-related complaints were reported more by females and people with higher somatization tendency. Age had no significant linear effect on EMF-related complaints. The cognitive condition of threat produced a significant contrast effect among people with high somatization tendency on EMF-related complaints. Cognition can influence reporting of EMF-related effects. Thus, in future research of such effects, psychologically influencing factors should be included. Also risk communication should incorporate knowledge about social cognition.

Abstract

Exposure to electromagnetic fields (EMF) as well as EMF-related complaints has increased over the past decades. However, it is unclear whether these complaints are related to the electromagnetic or other physical properties of these fields per se, to salience of EMF in media, or to both. What is the prevalence of EMF-related complaints in the general population? What are the influencing factors on this prevalence? Does reporting of EMF-related symptoms depend on cognitive factors? To answer these questions, a survey with random variation of three cognitive factors was performed. As expected, EMF-related complaints were reported more by females and people with higher somatization tendency. Age had no significant linear effect on EMF-related complaints. The cognitive condition of threat produced a significant contrast effect among people with high somatization tendency on EMF-related complaints. Cognition can influence reporting of EMF-related effects. Thus, in future research of such effects, psychologically influencing factors should be included. Also risk communication should incorporate knowledge about social cognition.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Swiss Research Institute for Public Health and Addiction
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Uncontrolled Keywords:Perception;Risk;Self Report
Language:English
Date:2002
Deposited On:13 May 2014 12:19
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 17:47
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:1438-4639
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1078/1438-4639-00170
PubMed ID:12173533

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