Extroverted men who put their self-interests above others are most likely to ignore COVID-19 regulations, a new study published on Thursday found.
Researchers at the University of Sydney studied the behaviors and attitudes of 1,575 people in Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States between April and May 2020.
Out of the men interviewed, only 86 percent said they complied with coronavirus countermeasures during the first wave of the pandemic. In comparison, 92 percent of the women interviewed said they followed regulations.
The study also found that across all the countries, those who did not comply with measures said they often put their own interests ahead of their moral obligations.
Those who did not comply with the protocols were more likely to ignore stay-at-home measures to meet friends or family, for religious reasons, because they were bored, or because they wanted to exercise their right to freedom, the researchers found.
The study also found that those who complied with COVID-19 countermeasures were more likely to find healthy ways to cope with regulations, such as taking up new hobbies to distract themselves. Meanwhile, those that did not comply were more likely to resort to “denial, substance use, and behavioral disengagement,” the report said.
Non-compliers were also more likely to perceive restrictions as a threat to individual freedoms, according to the study.
The researchers noted that since the study was conducted when the virus first emerged, attitudes may have changed since then.
However, they said the study reflected the importance of rephrasing government messages about health protocols to target the people who are non-compliant.
“Maybe the message to them should be how it benefits them: You’re not going to infect yourself and your loved ones.
It’s not only good for society, exercising your moral responsibility, it’s good for you,” the study’s lead author, Sabina Kleitman, told UK-based newspaper The Guardian.
An Austrian study published in Nature Scientific Reports on July 30 found that adhering to preventative measures was just as important as getting vaccinated when it comes to avoiding infection.
COVID-19 vaccines alone are not enough to fight the more infectious variants, such as Delta and Lambda, that have recently emerged, but need to be used in conjunction with social distancing best practices and mask wearing, the researchers from the Institute of Science and Technology Austria found.