Young males aged 13-24 years old are more likely to flaunt coronavirus lockdown restrictions than females of the same age, according to a new study.
A survey revealed 50% of males aged 19-24 had broken rules by meeting friends or family members from outside their household compared to 25% of females.
The study from the University of Sheffield and Ulster University also showed a fifth of men aged 19-24 had either been separated, fined or arrested by police for contravening rules.
Psychologists behind the study, which had a sample size of 2,000 13-24 year olds, have urged the government to improve its COVID-19 messaging to young people.
University of Sheffield’s Dr Liat Levita said: “We know that males in general take more risks and evolutionary psychologists have always explained that in terms of males trying to show off.
“They will take more risks and their decision-making processes are shaped by that so their behaviour actually makes sense to them.”
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Young males were also more likely to think official guidelines were not worth following and they posed less risk to others from spreading coronavirus.
Dr Levita pointed to a report from the National Police Chief's Council where most people fined for breaking rules were men, with a third aged 18-24.
She added the mental health of young people could explain their actions.
The study showed young people with depression broke rules more often, with those suffering from anxiety following the restrictions more closely.
In total half of the sample (917) of young people felt more anxious during this period especially if their parents worked in a key role.
Dr Levita said: “The more someone is depressed, the less compliant and de-motivated they are.”
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to announce only a “modest” easing of the coronavirus lockdown on Sunday when he addresses the nation.