Design of a questionnaire: Occupational and environmental risks for Parkinson's disease

P. G. Butterfield, C. A. Lindeman, B. G. Valanis, P. S. Spencer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


The pilot work conducted during this phase of the Parkinson's disease study provided preliminary evidence for the validity and reliability of the exposure history questionnaire. Following completion of this work, the questionnaire was mass produced and mailed to potential clients and controls within the study catchment area. Altogether 63 clients and 68 controls (i.e., matched by age, gender, and age at diagnosis) responded to the questionnaire. Analyses of these data yielded significant positive associations between the occurrence of Parkinson's disease and repeated exposure to insecticide and herbicides. Detailed findings from this study are reported elsewhere (Butterfield, 1993). These findings are consistent with a number of other recent studies linking pesticide exposure to the development of Parkinson's disease (Barbeau, 1987; Goldsmith, 1990; Semchuk, 1992). However, these epidemiologic data are by no means conclusive, and additional research is currently being conducted to further clarify the relationship, if any, between environmental exposures and Parkinson's disease. The results of this nurse directed investigation have helped to advance efforts to understand the etiology of Parkinson's disease. The development of a sound and comprehensive questionnaire was a critical component in ensuring the success of this research. The careful design of the study questionnaire allowed clients to record their lifetime exposure history in a clear and systematic manner. This information enabled the research team to gain a more extensive understanding of the range of chemicals encountered in the workplace and their potential role in the induction of neurologic disease. The acquisition of exposure information is a critical component in assessing short and long term occupational health risks of exposure to chemicals with neurotoxic and carcinogenic potential. Improved strategies directed toward the protection of worker health will be predicated on identifying and understanding the long term risks of chemical exposure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)197-202
Number of pages6
JournalAAOHN Journal
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1995
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Nursing (miscellaneous)


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