Mostly everyone nowadays is wearing masks in the fight against the novel coronavirus. From the supermarket to a stroll around the block, masks have become as common as a sight of spring flowers but not everyone is wearing masks or face coverings to protect themselves, according to new research.
A recent preprint study conducted by American and British researchers found that men in the US are more likely to not wear face coverings compared to women because men find the protection “shameful” and a “weakness”.
The study, which was authored by researchers from Middlesex University London and the Mathematical Science Research Institute in Berkeley, Calif., analyzed nearly 2,500 participants in the US to analyze gender differences in the fight against COVID-19. It has not been peer-reviewed.
Men reported masks, which have been recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, had negative emotions toward wearing masks. Compared to women, men were more likely to agree with statements such as “wearing a mask is not cool,” “wearing a face covering is shameful” and a sign of “weakness, and a stigma.”
Part of the concerning results also shed light on the general mindset of men during COVID-19. The study found that men were less likely to believe they could be affected by the coronavirus, despite research indicating that more men were dying from the virus than women around the world.
“We found that gender differences in intentions to wear a face-covering are mediated by the subjective likelihood to get the disease and by the subjective likelihood to get over it more easily than not, in case one gets it,” the researchers wrote. “In other words, the fact that men less than women intend to wear a face-covering can be partly explained by the fact that men more than women believe that they will be relatively unaffected by the disease. This is particularly ironic because official statistics show that actually the coronavirus (COVID-19) impacts men more seriously than women.”
These results were echoed by the findings of a recent Gallup study, which found that just 29% of men always wear a mask in public, compared to 44% of women. Thirty-eight percent of men reported never wearing a mask.