Factors associated with willingness to wear a mask to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in a Midwestern Community

Pamela S. Sinicrope, Laura A. Maciejko, Jean M. Fox, Michelle T. Steffens, Paul A. Decker, Philip Wheeler, Young J. Juhn, Chung Il Wi, Mary Gorfine, Christi A. Patten

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To identify motivators and barriers to wearing a mask to prevent COVID-19. Participants and methods: An anonymous, online survey of adults from Southeastern Minnesota conducted August 2020. We assessed willingness to wear a mask and its associations with socio-demographics, COVID-19-related factors and prevention behaviors using multivariable ordinal logistic regression. Results: Of 7,786 respondents (78% women, 51% rural), 9% reported ‘not at all willing’, 27% ‘willing’, and 64% ‘very willing’ to wear a mask. Factors independently associated with willingness to wear a mask were: urban residence (OR = 1.23, 95% CI 1.05–1.44, p = 0.009); college degree or greater (OR 1.42, CI 1.05–1.93, p = 0.025); age (18–29 years OR 1.29, CI 01.02–1.64, p = 0.038; 30–39 OR = 1.37, CI 1.12–1.69, p = 0.003; 60–69 OR = 1.44, CI 1.09–1.91, p = 0.011; 70–89 OR 2.09, CI 1.32–3.37, p = 0.002; 40–49 reference group); and (all p < 0.001) democratic party affiliation (OR 1.79, CI 1.40–2.29), correct COVID-19 knowledge (OR 1.50, CI 1.28–1.75), 5 + COVID-19 prevention behaviors (OR 2.74, CI 1.98–3.81), positive perceived impacts for wearing a mask (OR 1.55, 1.52–1.59), perceived COVID-19 severity (OR 2.1, CI 1.44–3.1), and greater stress (OR 1.03, CI 1.02–1.04), and trust in the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) (OR 1.78, CI 1.45 –2.19). Conclusion: Results from this sample of SEMN residents suggest interventions to enhance COVID-19 knowledge, positive expectations for mask wearing, and trust in the CDC are warranted. Research is needed to understand cultural and other barriers and facilitators among sub-populations, e.g., rural residents less willing to wear a mask.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number101543
JournalPreventive Medicine Reports
StatePublished - Dec 2021


  • Behavioral science
  • COVID-19
  • Community-engaged research
  • Face covering
  • Mask
  • Public health
  • Social cognitive theory
  • Survey research

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Informatics
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


Dive into the research topics of 'Factors associated with willingness to wear a mask to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in a Midwestern Community'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this