According to new research that was published in the “Personality and Individual Differences” journal, both women and men are equally likely to wear face masks during the coronavirus pandemic. However, the study shows that women and men tend to have contrasting reasons for not wearing face masks.
Matt C. Howard, an assistant professor at the University of South Alabama, is a researcher involved in this study. His interest in the matter arose after reading a few popular news reports that claimed that men were less likely to wear face masks. This is despite recent research that indicated that both women and men are becoming similar in active health behaviors such as smoking or drinking. Howard then set forth to look into these findings that conflicted with previous academic research.
To conduct his study, Howard enlisted 1979 participants from Amazon’s Mechanical Turk platform for three surveys that were carried out in April, May and June. The individuals were required to complete the Face Mask Perception Scale as part of the surveys. This is a psychological assessment that evaluates the justifications for not wearing face masks during the coronavirus pandemic.
Howard noted that there were no significant differences in the responses given by both women and men regarding how often they wore face masks when going out in public. However, he discovered that women and men had dissimilar perceptions of face masks.
Howard’s findings showed that women felt face masks were uncomfortable while men felt that the masks infringed upon their independence. He stated that despite the fact that these effects were small, they suggested that different approaches needed to be used to promote the wearing of face masks. To ensure wearing masks was more effective, he suggested that messages specifically target the different perceptions that different people had concerning the face masks.
While the study’s findings explain the new relationship between face mask perceptions and gender, there’s still a lot for researchers to uncover and understand about this new topic. Howard explained that while there were still questions that hadn’t been answered concerning the wearing of face masks, studies have been done that looked into the subconscious disinclinations to face masks, such as disease in the wearer and perceptions of illness.
In addition, Howard stated that the presence of research that identified face-mask-wearing predictors was a predecessor for research that would investigate deep-level characteristics such as personality. He also noted that this would be an interesting area for undergraduate and graduate students to look into and get involved in its research and publishing.
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