PROJECTIVE DRAWINGS FOR ASSESSING STRESS AMONG SUBJECTS WITH MEDICAL SYMPTOMS COMPATIBLE WITH SICK BUILDING SYNDROME, AND VALIDATION OF A MODIFIED VERSION OF THE STRESS LOAD INDEX FROM THE DRAWING PERSONALITY PROFILE: A PILOT STUDY1

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Abstract

It was hypothesized that subjects with medical symptoms would show more signs of stress in projective drawings. A Stress Load Index, including five signs of stress in drawings, was evaluated. A questionnaire with an instruction to draw “a person in the rain” was sent to a cohort of 195 subjects, and the drawings were analysed blindly for eight stress items. Men had a higher index than women (p < .05) and drew clouds more often (p < .05). Drawing of clouds was associated with headache (adjOR= 4.28; 95% CI 1.75; 11.68). Drawing of puddles was associated with ocular symptoms (adjOR = 3.22; 95% CI 1.38, 7.50), facial dermal symptoms (adjOR = 2.94; 95% CI 1.28, 6.81), and tiredness (adjOR = 2.44; 95% C1 1.05, 5.67). Drawing of long rain strokes was associated with nasal symptoms (adjOR = 2.28; 95% CI 1.05, 2.06) and headache (adjOR = 3.20; 95% CI 1.28, 8.05). Age and stress load were predictors of sick building syndrome symptoms (p < .05). In conclusion, a nonverbal projective drawing test detected sex differences which represent directions opposite to those with verbal methods. These need empirical assessment.

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