Multivariate analysis of ambient environmental factors and respiratory effects

Catharine J. Holberg, Mary Kay O'rourke, Michael D. Lebowitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Relationships between respiratory health and environmental conditions (pollen, pollution and meteorology) are investigated in 204 subjects in four symptom groups in four geographical clusters in Tucson. Techniques used are principal components, factor and path analysis. Daily respiratory symptoms and peak expiratory flows were recorded during a three-year period. Ambient pollutants, meteorological conditions and pollen types were monitored in or near the clusters. Factor-based scales, which are climate and season specific, are developed for the environmental variables. Three pollutant/meteorological scales represent 'Summer', 'Winter', and 'Humidity'. Four pollen scales represent early and late spring, summer and fall pollen types. Relationships between environmental variables, respiratory symptoms and peak expiratory flow are analyzed with path diagrams, after accounting for age, sex, smoking habits and stove type. The different effects of the environment on asthmatics, allergics and airways obstructive disease subjects have been demonstrated. Many relationships were found between environmental factors and respiratory responses. The pollutant and meteorological variables are related to respiratory symptoms and peak flow directly as well as through interactions with pollen types. Some of the largest positive coefficients are seen in association with seasonal pollen types, specifically, rhinitis and dyspnoea.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)399-410
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Epidemiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1987
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology


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