Academic Study Examines the Gender Gap in Mask Wearing During the Early Days of the Pandemic

A new study led by researchers at New Mexico State University and Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana, finds that women have been more conscientious than men in taking measures to combat the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

The large survey of American adults found that in the first months of the pandemic, the people most likely to mask up were women, older adults, African-Americans, Hispanics, and low-income employees forced to work outside the home.

The results showed that 76 percent of the study participants reported wearing a mask during the early months of the pandemic. The following groups reported a higher prevalence of mask-wearing compared to their counterparts: females (82%), divorced/widowed (85%), living with family members (81%), unemployed (85%), non-Hispanics (79%), and those older than 36 years of age (81%).

“During the early stages of the pandemic, most people were doing all they could to stay safe,” said Diana Saiki, a professor of fashion merchandising at Ball State Univerity, and a co-author of the study. “However, our study also found that some young people and men disregarded protective measures such as masks and gloves.”

The full study, “Masks, Gloves, and the COVID-19 Pandemic: Rapid Assessment of Public Behaviors in the United States” was published by Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute. It may be downloaded here.

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