Individual-Level Heterogeneity in Mask-wearing During the COVID-19 Pandemic in Malaysia

Stephen X. Zhang (Lead / Corresponding author), Kim Hoe Looi, Nicolas Li, Xue Wan, Jizhen Li

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Abstract

Wearing a face mask has been a key approach to contain or slow down the spread of COVID-19 in the ongoing pandemic. However, there is huge heterogeneity among individuals in their willingness to wear face masks during an epidemic. This research aims to investigate the individual heterogeneity to wear face masks and its associated predictors during the COVID-19 pandemic when mask-wearing was not mandatory but individuals’ choices. Based on a survey of 708 Malaysian adults and a multivariate least-squares fitting analysis, the results reveal a significant variance among individuals in wearing masks, as 34% of the individual adults did not always wear masks in public places. Female, individuals who wash their hands more frequently, and those who reported more availability of personal protective equipment were more likely to practice mask-wearing. The identification of less compliant groups of mask-wearing has critical implications by enabling more specific health communication campaigns.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAmerican Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
Early online date9 Aug 2021
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 9 Aug 2021

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • face mask-wearing
  • demographic predictor
  • hygienic predictors
  • risk identification

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