English Summaries (04/2015)
Noise sensitivity has an important role in noise perception
Traffic is the most important source of environmental noise. Noise can have harmful effects on health and well-being. Noise sensitivity describes how an individual perceives noise and inherently reacts to it. The purpose of this study was to explore how noise sensitivity is distributed among the Finnish people and how noise sensitivity is associated with the perception of traffic noise. A structured questionnaire was mailed to randomly selected 25–74 year-old Finnish-speaking people living in mainland Finland (N = 1 112). An individual noise sensitivity index was constructed from four questions measuring noise sensitivity. For statistical analyses, the highest fifth of the index was categorized as noise-sensitive persons. The χ² test and logistic regression (in sensitivity analyses to assess the effects of confounding factors) were used for statistical analyses. Noise sensitivity index scores were normally distributed. The majority of the noise-sensitive persons were women, aged 45–59 years and persons with high education. Noise-sensitive persons were more worried about environmental health risks and appreciated the healthiness of their living environment more than the rest of the population. Noise-sensitive persons differed from the rest of the population in all aspects of experiencing traffic noise. For example, noise-sensitive persons considered themselves more exposed to traffic noise and they perceived a higher health risk from exposure than the rest of the population. In addition, they were more annoyed and had more symptoms that they associated with traffic noise. Thus, noise sensitivity not only increases noise annoyance but also has a comprehensive effect on noise perception.
Keywords: noise, traffic noise, noise sensitivity, noise perception
The Finnish validation study of the CORE-OM-measure: Non-clinical sample
The study examined the reliability and validity of the Finnish version of the Clinical Outcomes in Routine Evaluation – Outcome Measure (CORE-OM), which is a 34-item self-report instrument of psychological problems. The non-clinical sample consisted of 210 Finnish participants with different life situations. The analysis included internal reliability, socio-demographic differences, principal component analysis and correlations with other instruments (BDI and SCL-90). Internal reliability was high and convergent validity with other instruments was good. Overall, the psychometric characteristics of the Finnish CORE-OM were rather similar to the other validation studies conducted in different countries. Nevertheless, the Finnish version needs to be studied in more detail, in larger and more diverse samples. Based on this study the Finnish version of the CORE-OM is a valid questionnaire for assessing the severity of a broad range of psychological problems.
Keywords: CORE-OM, outcome measure, psychotherapy research, validation study
A subgroup analysis of the development of math skills from preschool to 4th grade
The aim of this study was to investigate the development of children’s math skills from preschool to 4th grade. The focus was on arithmetic skills, the development of which was examined in three subgroups characterized by diverse math skills. In addition, we examined number sequence skills, arithmetic reasoning, automatization of multiplication skills and gender differences. The participants were 494 children drawn from the First Steps follow-up study. The results showed significant differences between the subgroups in all investigated math skills at every age phase. Number sequence skills in preschool and first grade were associated with both concurrent arithmetic skills and subsequent arithmetic skills and arithmetic reasoning. The results indicate that developmental differences in math skills are quite stable. There were no gender differences in arithmetic skills of the whole sample, but boys outperformed girls in the ’high math skills’ group and boys had lower skills than girls in the ’low math skills’ group. The results corroborate the previous views on the importance of early evaluation of children’s math skills for identification of learning difficulties and the targeting of support.
Keywords: math skills, arithmetic skills, number sequences, preschool, primary school