Men vs women? Women are more prone to follow advice about coronavirus |Image credit: Reuters/Reuters

Researchers have observed that women have followed the preventive practices of physical distancing, mask wearing and maintaining hygiene to a greater degree than men.
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Last Updated: October 7, 2020, 5:34 PM IST

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The sight of US President Donald Trump proudly taking off his mask at White House after getting treated for coronavirus may have a scientific explanation. A recent study has revealed that men are less likely to wear a mask and follow the social distancing rules. The medical experts have repeatedly been asking people to follow the rules to prevent the spread of deadly coronavirus.

The study conducted by New York University and Yale University researchers was published in Behavioral Science & Policy this month.


Researchers have observed that women have followed the preventive practices of physical distancing, mask wearing and maintaining hygiene to a greater degree than men. It was also found that women were more likely to listen to experts and exhibit alarm and anxiety in response to the coronavirus.

Irmak Olcaysoy Okten, a postdoctoral researcher in NYU’s Department of Psychology and the paper’s lead author, explains that the previous research before the pandemic had shown that women frequently visited doctors in their daily lives and followed their recommendations more so than men. The recent study is a reflection of women’s behaviours toward medical attention.

Okten said that women also pay more attention to the health-related needs of others and hence “it is not surprising that these tendencies would translate into greater efforts on behalf of women to prevent the spread of the pandemic.”

Multiple videos and reports have pointed out how some men have reacted furiously when asked to wear a mask. A few world leaders like the US President Donald Trump and Brazil’s President Jair Bolsanaro have openly trivialised the seriousness of the virus and both have contracted the COVID-19.

READ: Low Testosterone, More Deaths: Why is Coronavirus Hitting Men Harder than Women?

For the recent study, researchers queried nearly 800 US residents and asked them their tendency to keep social distance and to stay at home, frequency of handwashing, number of days of in-person contact with family or friends, and number of days of in-person contact with others.

They also analysed aggregated GPS location data from approximately 3,000 US counties and 15 million GPS smart-phone coordinates between March 9 and May 29. They found that individuals in counties with a higher percentage of males showed comparatively less social distancing as the pandemic surged between March 9 and May 29.