Anxiety during respirator use: Comparison of two respirator types

Samantha Wu, Philip Harber, David Yun, Siddharth Bansal, Yuan Li, Silverio Santiago

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)123-128
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of occupational and environmental hygiene
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2011


  • anxiety
  • personal protective equipment
  • respirator

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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