Science

Wear mask, stay happy: study

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on December 28, 2020 Published on December 28, 2020

People who wore masks consistently had better mental health than those who didn’t, says UK research

Researchers from the University of Edinburgh, UK, found that consistent mask-wearing was associated with positive well-being among their subjects.

The study, published in the pre-print journal medRxiv, studied over 11,000 people across the UK who participated in the CovidLife surveys. Using this data, the mental health outcomes of the participants were then evaluated.

CovidLife survey is an initiative set up by the University of Edinburgh to try and measure and understand the impact of the pandemic on the nation’s well-being.

For the study, the team conducted longitudinal analyses that collected data via the Qualtrics platform between April and June 2020.

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Depression, loneliness

The researchers found that adherence to face-covering guidelines had no positive correlation with poorer mental health conditions. The team, in turn, found that people who wore masks consistently had better mental health than those who did not.

The study found that the odds of feeling anxious were 58 per cent lower among those who always wore their masks. The likelihood of experiencing depressive symptoms was 25 per cent lower among people who wore their masks most of the time.

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Furthermore, the odds of feeling lonely were 67 per cent lower among those who always wore their masks.

The researchers wrote: “Indeed, the opposite appears to be the case: stronger adherence to guidelines is associated with less anxiety and loneliness, and higher life satisfaction and well-being.”

The team concluded: “Our data provide strong evidence that following government guidance on face coverings is associated with better rather than poorer mental health and well-being.

The World Health Organization has also recommended face masks as a comprehensive strategy in mitigating the spread of the virus.

The use of a mask alone is not sufficient to provide adequate protection, but it is effective along with other infection control measures, WHO had noted earlier.

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Published on December 28, 2020
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