Young males 'more likely to ignore coronavirus lockdown restrictions’

Jimmy Nsubuga
·2 min read
Police officers look at people relaxing in the sunshine on Primrose Hill in London on May 7, 2020 as life continues in Britain under a nationwise lockdown to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus. - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson told senior ministers on May 7 the government would adopt "maximum caution" as it moves towards a relaxation of lockdown measures imposed to combat the coronavirus outbreak. (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP) (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images)
Police officers look at people relaxing in the sunshine on Primrose Hill in London (Picture: Getty)

Young males aged 13-24 years old are more likely to flaunt coronavirus lockdown restrictions than females of the same age, according to a new study.

A survey revealed 50% of males aged 19-24 had broken rules by meeting friends or family members from outside their household compared to 25% of females.

The study from the University of Sheffield and Ulster University also showed a fifth of men aged 19-24 had either been separated, fined or arrested by police for contravening rules.

Psychologists behind the study, which had a sample size of 2,000 13-24 year olds, have urged the government to improve its COVID-19 messaging to young people.

Read more: How many coronavirus cases are there in your area?

People enjoying the warm weather in Greenwich Park, London, as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus. (Photo by Yui Mok/PA Images via Getty Images)
People enjoying the warm weather in Greenwich Park, London (Picture: Getty)

University of Sheffield’s Dr Liat Levita said: “We know that males in general take more risks and evolutionary psychologists have always explained that in terms of males trying to show off.

“They will take more risks and their decision-making processes are shaped by that so their behaviour actually makes sense to them.”

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Young males were also more likely to think official guidelines were not worth following and they posed less risk to others from spreading coronavirus.

Dr Levita pointed to a report from the National Police Chief's Council where most people fined for breaking rules were men, with a third aged 18-24.

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She added the mental health of young people could explain their actions.

The study showed young people with depression broke rules more often, with those suffering from anxiety following the restrictions more closely.

In total half of the sample (917) of young people felt more anxious during this period especially if their parents worked in a key role.

Dr Levita said: “The more someone is depressed, the less compliant and de-motivated they are.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to announce only a “modest” easing of the coronavirus lockdown on Sunday when he addresses the nation.

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