gms | German Medical Science

MAINZ//2011: 56. GMDS-Jahrestagung und 6. DGEpi-Jahrestagung

Deutsche Gesellschaft für Medizinische Informatik, Biometrie und Epidemiologie e. V.
Deutsche Gesellschaft für Epidemiologie e. V.

26. - 29.09.2011 in Mainz

Stability of risk perception related to mobile phone stations over two years on the individual level. The QUEBEB study

Meeting Abstract

  • Gabriele Berg-Beckhoff - University of Southern Denmark, Esbjerg
  • Bernd Kowall - Deutsches Diabetes Zentrum, Duesseldorf
  • Juergen Breckenkamp - Universitaet, Bielefeld
  • Brigitte Schlehofer - Krebsforschungszentrum, Heidelberg
  • Joachim Schuez - IARC, Lyon
  • Maria Blettner - Universitaet, Mainz

Mainz//2011. 56. Jahrestagung der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Medizinische Informatik, Biometrie und Epidemiologie (gmds), 6. Jahrestagung der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Epidemiologie (DGEpi). Mainz, 26.-29.09.2011. Düsseldorf: German Medical Science GMS Publishing House; 2011. Doc11gmds266

DOI: 10.3205/11gmds266, URN: urn:nbn:de:0183-11gmds2662

Published: September 20, 2011

© 2011 Berg-Beckhoff et al.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( You are free: to Share – to copy, distribute and transmit the work, provided the original author and source are credited.



Objective: The percentage of persons who are concerned about mobile phone base stations (MPBS) is about 30% and did not vary during the years 2003 to 2009 in panel surveys. The aim of the present analysis is to assess whether the perception of MPBS risks is stable over time not only on the aggregate but also on the individual level, and which the predictors for the individual risk perception stability are.

Methods: Analysis was based on 3,253 persons in a population based sample in the age range from 14 to 69 years who filled in a self-administered questionnaire in 2004 and in 2006, respectively. Participants estimated their concern about MPBS, they specified whether they attributed their health complaints to the MPBS in both questionnaires in the same manner. Moreover, data about stress, anxiety, and depression were assessed in 2006 using validated psychometric scales. A multinomial logistic regression analysis was done to estimate predictors for the stability of the perception of MPBS risks like age, sex, psychological factors, level of school education, and region, Stability as the dependent variable was categorized into stable no concern/attribution, instable perception and stable concern/attribution.

Results: In the year 2004, among 3,253 participants 538 (16.5%) were concerned about mobile phone base stations, and 284 (8.7%) attributed own health complaints to mobile phone base stations. In total, 73.0 % showed the same perception of MPBS risks in 2004 and 2006. 83.7% of persons without concern and attribution in 2004 mentioned the same risk perception in 2006. However, only 46.7% of those who were concerned about MPBS in 2004 expressed that concern two years later. Only 31.3% of those who had attributed their health complaints to MPBS in 2004 did so again in 2006. The multinomial logistic regression shows that all considered psychometric scores estimated 2006 were associated with the stable perception of a higher risk. School education and some different regions in Germany like Bayern and Hamburg were also associated with the stable perception of a higher risk. Age and sex was not associated with the stability of risk perception.

Conclusion: Over a two year period, the perception of MPBS risks is rather volatile in subjects concerned about MPBS or attributing health complaints to MPBS, but more stable in subjects without concern or attribution. Psychological factors, regional variation, and school education seemed to be good predictors in explaining the different stability categorisations.