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Work. 2018;61(2):303-311. doi: 10.3233/WOR-182801.

Understanding attitudes toward hygiene mask use in Japanese daily life by using a repeated cross-sectional survey.

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Institute of Human and Social Sciences, Kanazawa University, Kakuma-machi, Kanazawa, Japan.
The Ohara Memorial Institute for Science of Labour, Tokyo, Japan.



During the 2009 H1N1 influenza epidemic, roughly half of survey respondents reported having worn a hygiene mask. However, most were unsatisfied with commercially available masks.


The long-term goal was to develop a comfortable, high-performance hygiene mask. This study investigated holistic attitudes of mask wearers and identified the most prominent problems as a basis for developing a new mask.


In 2009, 2012, and 2015, identical surveys were conducted among Japanese university students. The rate of mask use, intended uses, and problems reported while wearing a mask were aggregated. Co-occurrence analysis of individual respondents' data was conducted.


For men, the most intended uses were influenza prevention in 2009 and common cold prevention in 2012 and 2015; common problems were humidity in the mask, glasses misting over, and breathing difficulty. For women, the most intended use was common cold prevention in all 3 years; common problems were humidity, glasses misting over, breathing difficulty, and makeup coming off.


Men's attitudes in 2009 were different from those in 2012 and 2015. However, women's major attitudes were consistent in all 3 years. For both sexes, the most commonly reported problem was humidity in all 3 years. It is expected that more comfortable masks for daily use will result from improving humidity characteristics.


Intended use; co-occurrence analysis; problem awareness

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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