Oct. 8 (UPI) -- People who are "careful and diligent" are 31% more likely to follow measures designed to contain the spread of COVID-19 than those who do not have these personality traits, according to an analysis published Thursday by the journal PLOS ONE.
Similarly, those who "have strong cooperative values and a preference for positive interpersonal relationships" are 17% more likely to comply with social distancing guidelines, the data showed.
Increasing understanding of what personality traits encourage -- and discourage -- compliance with COVID-19 guidelines such as social distancing and the wearing of face coverings in public can help governments determine the best way to implement health precautions, the researchers said.
"Governments are continuously trying to figure out how to maximize compliance with COVID-19 transmission mitigation behavioral guidelines, such as wearing masks, avoiding gatherings, washing hands, etc., and the truth is [that] there is no such a one-size-fits-all model," study co-author Ahmed M. Nofal told UPI.
"We encourage governments to trigger people's predispositions towards specific personality traits -- for example, to boost citizens' sense of belonging and obligation to their communities -- which has been suggested to develop conscientiousness," said Nofal, an assistant professor of entrepreneurship at the Emlyon Business School in France.
A study published last month, also in PLOS ONE, found that older adults in the United States were more likely to comply with social distancing measures.
Although that study also observed that the majority of Americans -- 65% -- were adhering to guidelines, a sizeable minority -- 35% -- were not.
For the new research, Nofal and his colleagues surveyed 8,548 Japanese adults aged 20 to 64 years on their compliance with measures designed to contain the spread of COVID-19.
The researchers also assessed respondents' individual personalities using the Ten Item Personality Inventory, a tool designed to identify specific traits and characteristics based on a number of measures.
In addition to people who are careful and conscientious and more agreeable and cooperative, those more "open to experiences" -- or who value "creativity, innovation and intellectual stimulation" -- are 19% more likely to comply with measures designed to limit COVID-19 spread than others, the data showed.
Conversely, extraverts -- those who are "assertive, dominant, energetic, active, talkative, impulsive and enthusiastic" -- are 7% less likely to adhere to control measures than introverts, the researchers said.
"Assessing individuals' personalities could also be very beneficial to identify people who tend to violate the transmission mitigation behavioral guidelines," Nofal said.