In the online study, 1,578 Brazilian adults completed a measure of maladaptive personality traits between May 21 and June 29, 2020. They also completed assessments of empathy and compliance with COVID-19 containment measures.
The researchers found that those who scored higher on measures of callousness, deceitfulness, hostility, impulsivity, manipulativeness, and risk-taking tended to be less compliant with COVID-19 containment measures, such as socially distancing, washing hands frequently, and wearing a facemask in public. Participants with greater empathy, on the other hand, tended to be more compliant with COVID-19 containment measures.
“Our findings indicated that antisocial traits, especially lower levels of empathy and higher levels of Callousness and Risk-taking, are directly associated with compliance with containment measures. These traits explain, at least partially, the reason why people continue not adhering to the containment measures even with the increasing numbers of cases and deaths,” the researchers said.