Men, Women Behaved Differently During Pandemic Lockdowns

TUESDAY, Oct 12, 2021 (HealthDay News) — How are men and women responding to the crisis?

A look at their behavior during the first COVID-19 lockdown in 2020 provides evidence: Women flocked to their phones for long conversations with a few trusted contacts.

European researchers reported that the men, angry at confinement, headed outside as quickly as they could.

“The complete shutdown of public life was a vivid, population-level experiment,” said researcher Tobias Reich of the Complex for Complex Sciences in Vienna (CSH). “We were interested in how much people support the government’s anti-coronavirus measures. And when we analyzed the data by gender, we surprisingly found strong behavioral differences between men and women.”

For the study, CSH looked at mobile phone data from 1.2 million Austrians. Records revealed that people made much longer phone calls after the lockdown was imposed.

“It’s interesting that they talked to fewer than usual – but with those few, they spoke for longer,” said Rich.

After Austria closed on March 16, 2020, the duration of calls between women increased by 1.5 times than before, and calls from men to women were twice as long as before.

The results showed that when women called men, they spoke for 80% longer, while the duration of calls between men increased by 66%.

Researcher George Heller said, “Of course, we do not know the content or purpose of these calls. However, the literature from the social sciences does provide evidence—often from small surveys, opinion polls, or interviews—that women tend to choose more proactive coping strategies. With stress, like talking with others. Our study will confirm that.”

The researchers also found that differences in commuting between men and women before the lockdown were magnified during the lockdown, with women restricted to trips outside the home for longer than men.

Phone data showed men flocked to a large Vienna entertainment area and shopping center during the lockdown. Once the restrictions were lifted, they returned to their pre-pandemic habits.

On the one hand, the authors said their study provides support for research in psychology and the social sciences — including a look at new questions from data assessments.