Two previously unpublished outbreaks of Mass Psychogenic Illness (MPI) in Italy are reported. The first outbreak involved 427 female workers at an electro-mechanical plant. Workers complained of work-related stressors, and high levels of conflict between their job and home duties. We conclude that the episode resulted from the interaction of environmental and work-related factors, the persons and the social organization of the workplace. The second case is one in which risk of MPI developing seems to have been successfully prevented. An effective stress coping strategy, coupled with workplace improvement, may have succeeded in eliminating cases of illness and preventing an outbreak of MPI.
- mass psychogenic illness, mental health, chemical pollution