UH Manoa professor finds mask-wearing dependent on what others are doing


HONOLULU (KHON2) — Even if people intend to wear masks, actually wearing one depends on what others are doing around them, a new study by the CDC, which was co-authored by University of Hawaii at Manoa professor Jack Barile, revealed.

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“If they kind of intern in an environment where they don’t see other people wearing them, that even if they intended to they’ll be less likely to engage in that behavior at the time,” said Barile, who is the UH Manoa Socials Science Research Institute Interim Director.

The same can be true of wearing one. Barile says this is because mask wearing is such a new concept in our culture. He adds that health concerns don’t usually factor into people’s decisions and the study found that risk or severity of COVID-19 weren’t factors in decisions to wear masks.

“People are oftentimes less concerned about their own personal health, the reason why a lot of people continue to smoke and there are a lot of behaviors that aren’t necessarily healthy,” Barile said.

With many COVID-19 warnings emphasizing how the virus can be harmful, Barile says the best way to get others to wear masks is to wear one yourself.

“Making wearing a face covering or a face mask the default behavior, the easy behavior, translates here and it translates to almost all health behaviors that make it the easiest and most acceptable behaviors, it’s the easiest way to get it done,” he said.

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