People with higher belief in science more likely to wear masks amid COVID-19: Report
People with a greater belief in science have a greater likelihood in believing face masks are effective at reducing the spread of COVID-19 and are thus more likely to wear masks, a report published Saturday found.
The report, published in science journal Personality and Individual Differences, examined the connections between face mask wearing behavior, general beliefs in science, belief in face mask effectiveness in reducing transmission of COVID-19, and sociodemographic information.
“We found evidence that greater belief in science predicted greater belief in the effectiveness of face masks reducing the transmission of COVID-19, which in turn predicted more reported face mask wearing behavior in public, controlling for sociodemographic factors,” the paper’s researchers wrote.
From the study’s results, the researchers went on to urge the scientific community to engage in more open science practices and science education, with the goal of increasing the public’s belief in science and the effectiveness of mask wearing in reducing the spread of COVID-19.
“We suspect that increasing science education, requiring researchers to participate in open science practices, and encouraging political figures, business leaders, and celebrities to speak more openly and honestly about the importance and impact of scientific findings may contribute to an increase in public trust and belief in science as an institution,” report author Morgan Stosic, a University of Maine doctoral student, told psychology and neuroscience news site PsyPost.
The study used Amazon’s Mechanical Turk platform to survey 1,050 people about their face mask wearing behavior. In addition to the connection of belief in science to mask wearing, researchers also found that race, age, gender, region, ethnicity, and political ideology were all predicators of face mask use, PsyPost reported.
In the US, the nation’s top disease expert, Anthony Fauci, warned Sunday that health authorities could tighten mask wearing rules as the highly contagious Delta COVID-19 variant continues to spread throughout the country.
Last week, US President Joe Biden announced that the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is likely to advise that children who have yet to be vaccinated against COVID-19 should wear masks when they return to school after the summer holidays.
Meanwhile in Europe, some countries began relaxing mask wearing requirements last month, but health authorities have recently voiced warnings that the Delta variant could lead to the reintroduction of containment measures to prevent infections from rising.