Sociopathic Traits Linked to Failure to Follow Mask Guidelines and Other COVID-19 Containment Measures

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New research from Brazil has found that people who are not concerned about complying with measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 tend to display higher levels of traits associated with antisocial personality disorder, also known as the name of sociopathy. The results were published in the journal Personality and individual differences.On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization declared the outbreak of the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 to be a global pandemic. Governments around the world have urged people to follow preventive health measures such as frequent hand washing and physical distancing.

“It should be noted that compliance with containment measures varies considerably from person to person,” said the authors of the new study. “This is at least partially linked to psychological factors such as personality traits.”

“To our knowledge, this is the first study focused on COVID-19 compliance with containment measures and antisocial traits to be conducted in a large sample from Latin America using a repeated cross-sectional design.

In the online study, 1,578 Brazilian adults completed a measurement of maladaptive personality traits between May 21 and June 29, 2020. They also performed assessments of empathy and compliance with COVID-containment measures. 19.

Researchers found that those who scored higher on measures of insensitivity, deception, hostility, impulsivity, manipulation and risk-taking tended to be less compliant with COVID-19 containment measures, such as social distancing, frequent hand washing and wearing a face mask. in public. Participants with greater empathy, on the other hand, tended to be more compliant with COVID-19 containment measures.

“Our results indicated that antisocial traits, especially lower levels of empathy and higher levels of callus and risk-taking, are directly associated with compliance with containment measures. These characteristics explain, at least partially, why people continue to not adhere to containment measures, even with the increasing number of cases and deaths, ”the researchers said.

“Exposing oneself and others to risk, even when it can be avoided, is a typical trait for people with antisocial tendencies and low levels of empathy.”

The new findings are in line with previous research in the United States and Poland, which also found that antisocial personality traits were associated with ignorance of preventive measures designed to stop the spread of COVID-19.

“Our results can be useful for public health policies, for example, through screenings that demonstrate an elevation of these traits, interventions can be carried out for greater awareness and therefore compliance with containment measures. We suggest that further studies be conducted to investigate the interaction of these traits with other variables, ”said the authors of the new research.

The study, “Compliance with containment measures to the COVID-19 pandemic over time: do antisocial traits matter?”, Was written by Fabiano Koich Miguel, Gisele Magarotto Machado, Giselle Pianowski and Lucasde Francisco Carvalho.

(Image par Engin Akyurt de Pixabay)

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