Anxiety may interfere with proper respirator use. This study directly compares the effect of two types of respirators - elastomeric half-face mask with dual-cartridges (HFM) and N95 filtering facepiece - on anxiety levels. Twelve volunteers with normal or mildly impaired respiratory conditions performed a series of simulated work tasks using the HFM and N95 on different days. The State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) measured state anxiety (SA) before and during respirator use. STAI also measured trait anxiety (TA), a stable personal characteristic. The effect of the respirator was measured as the difference between SA pre-use and during use. Work with HFM was associated with an increase in SA (2.92 units, p <.01), whereas work with the N95 had no observed effect. Anxiety should be considered in the selection of the best respirator for a user. Impact on anxiety should be considered for respirator design and certification purposes, particularly if the device is to be widely used in workplace and community settings.
- personal protective equipment
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health