Fear of Covid-19 and Compliance with Preventive Behaviours: Gender Differences among Youth in India
The Covid-19 pandemic has emerged as
a gendered phenomenon in several ways, with women reporting greater risk
aversion, perceived chances of infection and fear of family members getting
sick compared to men. The present study aimed to
investigate gender differences in fear of Covid-19 and compliance to preventive
behaviour during the pandemic among young adults in the metropolitan cities of India.
Although India has been one of the countries hardest hit by the pandemic, this remains
an under-investigated area here. Data was collected from 159 participants (79 men
and 80 women) on two variables: fear, measured by the Fear of Covid-19 Scale, and
compliance, measured by the Preventive Behaviours Questionnaire. The results indicated
no gender differences for both variables, thereby, rejecting the hypothesis of the
study that women will be more fearful and compliant than men. Further, a content
analysis designed to identify the reasons for low compliance among participants
who reported the least levels of adherence to preventive Behaviours found the main
factors to be high rates of vaccination and the presence of Covid fatigue. The lack
of gender differences found in the study necessitates further research but may potentially
be partly attributed to the severity of the pandemic in the country, supplemented
by similar levels of exposure to information about the pandemic among men and women.
The lack of gender differences in fear may explain the lack of differences found
for compliance. Implications and strategies for tackling factors driving low compliance
to preventive Behaviours are discussed.
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