Adherence to COVID-19 protective measures is lowest for young people and males. The current study investigated characteristics associated with adherence to COVID-19 protective measures among male youth during the early months of the pandemic.
The study used data from a prospective cohort study among male youth with baseline assessment in 2015/2016 and follow-up measurements in 2019 and summer 2020. Attrition-weighted multivariable ordinal logistic and log-binomial regression models were used to assess factors associated with adherence to overall and specific adherence measures, respectively.
Among 571 male youth (mean age 18.5), overall adherence was higher for those who were older (OR: 1.15; 95% CI: 1.03–1.30), non-White (OR: 1.96; 95% CI: 1.20–3.32), and residing in an urban area (OR: 2.06; 95% CI: 1.46–3.01). Overall adherence was lower for those who had a history of being drunk (OR: 0.65; 95% CI: 0.42–0.99). For outdoor mask-wearing, adherence was higher for youth with attention-deficit disorder or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (RR: 1.58; 95% CI: 1.16–1.97) and lower for youth who currently used tobacco products (RR: 0.42; 95% CI: 0.21–0.70). Before a statewide mask mandate was issued, non-White youth were more likely to report wearing masks in outdoor spaces than their non-Hispanic White peers (RR: 2.34; 95% CI: 1.75–3.23).
The study identified demographic, psychosocial, and behavioral factors associated with adherence to COVID-19 protective behaviors among male youth. The findings illustrate characteristics that could be leveraged for targeted preventive efforts during the ongoing pandemic and future outbreaks in a low-compliance group.