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Young men more likely than young women to break lockdown rules

Older teenage boys also more likely to incorrectly believe they cannot catch or pass on coronavirus.

Research by a team of psychologists suggests young men are twice as likely to break the coronavirus lockdown as young women.

Two thousand 13-24 year-olds were interviewed by researchers about the pandemic, revealing the strikingly different approaches to social distancing rules.

The group which flouted the lockdown the most were older adolescent males, aged 19-24. Just over half of this cohort admitted to the scientists, from the University of Sheffield and Ulster University, they had met up with friends or family members they did not live with.

In contrast, only about 25 per cent of young women of the same age said they had broken the lockdown regulations in this way.

It was a similar story when the researchers asked if they had gathered in a park or public place in groups of three or more.

About 45 per cent of men aged 19-24 admitted they had done this, compared with about 25 per cent of women of the same age.

The research even found a fifth of older adolescent men had been reprimanded by police because of breaking the lockdown rules, including being dispersed, fined or arrested.

Males aged 19-24 were also noticeably more likely to agree with statements downplayed the risks of coronavirus, such as “There is no risk that I can easily spread the virus to others even if I have no or very mild symptoms” and “There is no risk for me to catch the virus as young people are immune”.

Dr Liat Levita from the University of Sheffield said psychologists had known for some time men on the whole are happier taking greater risks than women.

“We know that males in general take more risks and evolutionary psychologists have always explained that in terms of males trying to show off,” she told the BBC.

"They will take more risks and their decision-making processes are shaped by that so their behaviour actually makes sense to them.”

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