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Epidemiological study (observational study)

Depressive symptoms and headaches in relation to proximity of residence to an alternating-current transmission line right-of-way.

Published in: Am J Epidemiol 1993; 137 (3): 318-330

Aim of study (acc. to author)

A survey was conducted in the USA to assess the prevalence of depressive symptoms and headache in relation to proximity of residence to an alternating-current transmission line.

Further details

The information on depressive symptoms was obtained from the interview schedule known as the Center for Epidemiologic Studies-Depression scale including 18 items describing symptoms or feelings (trouble concentrating, crying spells, feeling hopeful about the future, etc.) and the frequency of these experiences in the previous 7 days. The two questions on headache ( any migraine headache or any other kinds of headaches in the previous 7 days) were adapted from the National Health Interview Survey.

Endpoint/type of risk estimation

Type of risk estimation:
  • prevalence
(odds ratio (OR))

Exposure

Assessment

  • interview: living near a power line, if they could see the towers from their houses or yards

Exposure groups

Reference group 1 proximity to right-of-way of power line: far
Group 2 near residences: properties abutting the right-of-way or from which the power line towers are visible

Population

  • Group:
    • men
    • women
  • Age: 20–69 years
  • Characteristics: residents of 8 towns along a transmission line, adults residing on properties abutting the right-of-way and residents who, by signing a petition or an attendance sheet at a public meeting, had expressed active interest
  • Observation period: November1987
  • Study location: USA

Study size

Participants 382
Statistical analysis method:
  • unconditional logistic regression
( adjustment:
  • age
  • sex
  • education
  • marital status, all attitude and opinion measures
)

Conclusion (acc. to author)

A association was observed between the prevalence of depressive symptoms and residential proximity to the power line right-of-way (OR 2.8, CI 1.6-5.1). Non-migraine headaches showed a weaker association with proximity to the power line (OR 1.5, Cl 0.8-2.8), and migraine headaches exhibited no association (OR 0.99, Cl 0.3-3.4).

Limitations (acc. to author)

An extremely crude measure of residential proximity to the power line was used.

Study funded by

  • not stated/no funding

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