TITLE

Evaluation of the Q16 questionnaire on neurotoxic symptoms and a review of its use

AUTHOR(S)
Hogstedt, Christer
PUB. DATE
May 1997
SOURCE
Occupational & Environmental Medicine;May1997, Vol. 54 Issue 5, p343
SOURCE TYPE
Academic Journal
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
Objective: The questionnaire 16 (Q16) is commonly used to study prevalences of neurotoxic symptoms among workers exposed to organic solvents. It has also been recommended that exposed workers reporting morethan six symptoms should be referred for further examination of possible chronic toxic encephalopathy. It would be useful to know whethersymptoms reported in the questionnaire also reflect impairment of similar functions measured with objective or semiobjective methods in aformerly highly exposed group. Methods: 135 painters and 71 carpenters answered the Q16, were interviewed about symptoms compatible with an organic brain damage, and took a battery of psychometric tests. A subsample of 52 painters and 45 carpenters were interviewed for psychiatric diagnosis according to Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders, 3rd version (DSM III) and their vibration thresholdsin hands and feet were measured. The entire group was followed up inthe register of diagnoses at early retirement 1971- -93. The lifetime exposure to organic solvents was assessed. Current exposure to organic solvents was found to be low or none. Results: The prevalence of people with more than six symptoms in the Q16 rose with increasing cumulative exposure to solvents. The sensitivity of the questionnaire (more than six symptoms) to detect people who were assessed to exhibitsymptoms compatible with an organic brain damage was only 38%. One of seven people who had retired early with a diagnosis compatible witha chronic toxic encephalopathy, and two of five people with a psychiatric diagnosis compatible with this condition, had more than six symptoms in the Q16. The agreement between Q16 replies and psychometric test results, as well as other examinations, was low. Conclusions: The notable exposure--response relation indicates that the questionnaire is useful for comparison of groups with different exposures to organic solvents. There was low agreement between the number of symptoms on the
ACCESSION #
8002919

 

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