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Current Affairs

Older men worry less about COVID-19

Date: 31 May 2020 Tags: Miscellaneous

Issue

Data on Covid-19 so far has indicated that men are more vulnerable than women, and the elderly more vulnerable than the young. Now, a study has found that older men worry less about Covid-19 than women their age or than younger men and women, and thus may be at greater risk of contracting it.

 

Background

This is a concern given that older men are already more at risk, according to previous study by researchers across the globe.

 

Details

  • It is well established that worry is a key motivator of behavioural health changes, including motivating people to engage in preventive health care activities such as healthy eating, exercise and timely screenings. In general, worry begins to ease with age, and is also lower among men than women.

  • In general, worry begins to ease with age, and is also lower among men than women. Not only do older adults exhibit less negative emotions in their daily lives, they also exhibit less worry and fewer PTSD symptoms following natural disasters and terrorist attacks.

  • Knowing that older adults tend to worry less, researchers conducted a study to see how this affected responses to the global pandemic. Researchers administered an online questionnaire assessing Covid-19 perceptions and behaviour changes.

  • The questionnaire assessed behavioural changes that can reduce infection risk, from washing hands more often, to wearing a mask, avoiding socializing, avoiding public places, observing a complete quarantine or taking more care with a balanced diet and purchasing extra food or medications.

  • Compared to all other participants, older men were less worried about Covid-19, and had adopted the fewest number of behaviour changes. They were relatively less likely to have worn a mask, to report having stopped touching their faces or to have purchased extra food.

  • Researchers do not think the answer is to try to incite worry in older men. They think a better answer is to help them understand their risk accurately.

  • Older men may need a little extra coaching and attention to risk assessment and protective behaviours, both from concerned family members as well as their healthcare practitioners.