Dr Laura Driesen
Laura is a senior teaching fellow and programme lead on the advanced practice in psychological wellbeing programme.
Laura started her career in mental health as a psychological wellbeing practitioner. She went on to complete postgraduate qualifications in psychodynamic counselling, CBT and clinical psychology. Laura currently works at the University of Surrey and in secondary care with working age adults.
Objective Social and occupational functioning are important for psychological health. However, quantitative research has suggested that these areas can be adversely affected by multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS). This systematic review therefore sought to explore what qualitative research has suggested about how people with MCS perceive it to affect their social and occupational functioning. Method Journal articles were included if they were 1) peer reviewed 2) qualitative or mixed methods 3) published in English 4) reported qualitative findings relevant to the review. Studies were excluded if they were 1) descriptive only 2) primarily concerned with environmental intolerances other than chemicals or 3) focussed on specific populations such as veterans. Quality was assessed using the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE, 2018) qualitative quality criteria. However, quality was not used to determine eligibility for inclusion. Six databases (CINAHL, Medline, PsychArticles, PsychInfo, Scopus and Web of Science) were searched between the 24th of February 2019 and 2nd of March 2019. Results Having removed duplicates, database searches identified 388 potential articles. Thirteen of these articles were eligible for inclusion. Following review, no more articles were included from the reference lists of these studies. Meta-aggregation of the findings identified seven categories. These were synthesised into three themes; ‘limited access’, ‘loss & anxiety’ and ‘seeking engagement’. Conclusions The findings suggested that MCS limits some people's social and occupational functioning. The results warrant further research, and, the development of prevention and intervention strategies. Studies predominantly recruited United States and Canadian females and had several limitations.