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Effects of psychological symptoms on life adjustment among survivors of humidifier disinfectants.

OBJECTIVES: The humidifier disinfectant catastrophe in South Korea was a social disaster caused by toxic chemical substances. The present study aimed to examine the relationships between psychological symptoms and adaptive life functioning in survivors of humidifier disinfectants. This study examined the differential effects of psychological symptoms on life adjustment between survivors of humidifier disinfectant and the general population.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: A total of 452 individuals (228 general and 224 survivor groups) participated in this research. This study utilized the Adult Self-Report , one of the most widely used comprehensive mental health scales for measuring both psychological symptoms (e.g., anxiety/depression) and life adjustment functioning (e.g., interpersonal relationship). For the data analysis, multi-group structural equation modeling analysis was conducted using AMOS 21.0 program.

RESULTS: The results of this study indicated that attention problems out of 8 psychological symptoms was the only significant factor related to life adjustment in both general and survivor groups. In addition, there was a significant 2-way interaction effect of group status and somatic complaints on life adjustment.

CONCLUSIONS: When the somatic complaint symptom was higher, participants in the survivor group were less likely to adjust in life than the general group. Taken together, the somatic complaints of the survivors more strongly influence the life adjustment than the general population. Finally, the authors discuss practical implications for survivors of humidifier disinfectants for designing suitable intervention strategies. Int J Occup Med Environ Health. 2023;36(5).

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