John Libbey Eurotext

Environnement, Risques & Santé


Sick building syndrome or psychogenic syndrome ? Rationality versus beliefs Volume 9, issue 5, Septembre-Octobre 2010

CSTB (Centre scientifique et technique du bâtiment) 10, allée Louis Lumière 94300 Vincennes France, Université de Nîmes Laboratoire de psychologie sociale Université de Provence (EA 849) Rue du Docteur Georges Salan F-30000 Nîmes

The aim of this article is to propose some research hypotheses for studying the psychogenic syndrome as a scientific object in the field of social and environmental psychology. The definition of the sick building syndrome expresses the methodological problems and interrogations that it raises. The causes of these epidemics remain unexplained, and the only stable criterion is the systematic association of the symptoms with the presence of people in the building. This lack of understanding explains the absence of tools for preventing and managing these crises. We propose a methodology based on social and environmental psychology and intended to analyse: i) processes of representation and perception of the environment; ii) communication systems that develop during the event; and iii) social dynamics and environmental stress.