July 29, 2021

Are we afraid to take off our mask?

The Assistant Professor of the Department of Psychology and Sociology of the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (ULPGC), Leticia Morata Sampaio, publishes the article Are we afraid to take off our mask?, on the scientific dissemination platform The Conversation. In this article, the teacher points out that since the pandemic began, the face mask has become one of the most effective measures to stop the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and “we went from looking with amazement at those who wore them, to being coveted by everyone at the beginning of the state of alarm.”

However, on certain occasions, although they are no longer mandatory, there are those who have decided to continue using them. “Understanding why it could help health authorities to guide containment measures and campaigns aimed at improving preventive practices. Analyzing the reasons for compliance with the measures is as necessary as analyzing the causes of non-compliance,” says the specialist .

Morata points out that “if the reason for using masks was to comply with the imposed norms, when the obligation disappeared, or we were not monitored, we would stop using them. conduct could persist even though there are no external laws. ”

Only 25% of the population considers that they are at risk of becoming ill from covid-19


To understand these behaviors is useful “the health belief model, a classical theory of psychology, which suggests that lBeliefs about the threats of the disease and the effectiveness of the measures can predict our behaviors“However, Morata details,” only 25% of the population considers that they are at risk of becoming ill from covid-19, so if we do not consider it a threat, we will tend to protect ourselves less. ”

Likewise, personal evaluations about the possibility of falling ill with covid-19, according to a recent study, tend to have an optimistic bias. That is, he explains, “we believe that we are less likely to get sick than other people, even if we are informed of the risks.”

“Now that we are in the midst of a change in our relationship with masks, we must decide (in situations where it is not mandatory) how and when to use them. We must apply individual responsibility. Let us remember that proper compliance with prevention measures, together with our responsibility, can help us to show our faces again“, exposes the professor of the ULPGC.

For this reason, “it is essential to assess that fear without information is not enough. We need to sensitize the population, allow them to understand the situation and have sufficient resources to comply with security measures,” the article concludes.

The Conversation Spain it is the main channel for the dissemination of knowledge emanating from universities. The ULPGC joined this platform in February 2020, as sponsored by the CRUE-Spanish Universities. Researchers at the ULPGC have published more than 80 articles on this channel. The publication has editions in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, France, Indonesia and Africa, in addition to the Spanish edition, which was launched in the summer of 2018 and in just over a year has achieved more than 20 million readings thanks to the republication of the articles in 170 media.


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