Face mask use during the Covid-19 pandemic - the significance of culture and the symbolic meaning of behaviour.

Timpka T, Nyce JM

Ann Epidemiol - (-) - [2021-04-06; online 2021-04-06]

During public emergencies, a door can open on the fundamental elements upon which a society's social order is built. The Covid-19 pandemic has opened such a door in societies worldwide. We outline in this commentary some of these social elements and how they may have influenced face mask use during the early stages of the pandemic. The purpose is to expand the perspective on mechanisms that are relevant to consider in pandemic response planning. Our look at these fundamental elements showed that latent aspects of the dominant culture and various symbolic meanings of behaviours can reduce adherence with public health recommendations if they are overlooked in the strategic health plans. We conclude that when policymakers decide non-pharmacological interventions during pandemics, they should take into account fundamental attitudes and beliefs that may influence population behaviour. This will require paying attention to variations in things like culture and symbolic meanings of behaviour.

Category: Other

Type: Journal article

PubMed 33836290

DOI 10.1016/j.annepidem.2021.03.012

Crossref 10.1016/j.annepidem.2021.03.012

pii: S1047-2797(21)00056-9

Publications 7.1.2