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    Individual-level heterogeneity in mask wearing during the COVID-19 pandemic in Malaysia

    Zhang, Stephen X, Looi, Kim Hoe, Li, Nicolas ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-0746-7802, Wan, Xue and Li, Jizhen (2021) Individual-level heterogeneity in mask wearing during the COVID-19 pandemic in Malaysia. American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, 105 (6). pp. 1516-1518. ISSN 0002-9637

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    Wearing a face mask has been a key approach to contain or slow down the spread of COVID-19 in the ongoing pandemic. However, there is huge heterogeneity among individuals in their willingness to wear face masks during an epidemic. This research aims to investigate the individual heterogeneity to wear face masks and its associated predictors during the COVID-19 pandemic when mask-wearing was not mandatory. Based on a survey of 708 Malaysian adults and a multivariate least-squares fitting analysis, the results reveal a significant variance among individuals in wearing masks, as 34% of the individual adults did not always wear masks in public places. Female individuals, individuals who wash their hands more frequently, and those who reported more availability of personal protective equipment were more likely to practice mask-wearing. The identification of less-compliant groups of mask wearing has critical implications by enabling more specific health communication campaigns.

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