Study: Men less likely to mask up, possibly thanks to "illusions of invulnerability"

The research, published Sunday in the peer-reviewed journal “Behavioral Science & Policy,” found women are more likely to report embracing expert-backed behaviors such as wearing a mask and social distancing. The study helps add credibility to previous research that resulted in similar findings, including that men were more likely to see masks as a sign of weakness.

In the new study, authors used observations and GPS data to confirm their survey results. In one such study, researches observed hundreds of pedestrians and found women wore masks about 58% of the time while men did so only 42% of the time, a release from New York University says.

While the research doesn’t provide conclusive findings about why men lag behind women in adopting safety measures, previous research suggests “men’s illusions of invulnerability” and “traditional views of masculinity” may be major contributing factors, the study says.