Examining the effects of ego-depletion on mask wearing behaviors of influenza prevention in Hong Kong older adults

Chun-Qing ZHANG, Pak Kwong CHUNG, King Chung Derwin CHAN, Martin S. HAGGER, Jing Dong LIU, Gangyan SI

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


Background and Objectives: To examine whether ego depletion impacts on the behavioural compliance of mask wearing for influenza in an experimental setting. Design: A randomized crossover trial. Setting: Ethical committee of Hong Kong Baptist University approved the current research and data was collected at the ELCHK Shatin Multi-Service Centre for the Elderly. Participants: 138 older adults (12 males and 126 females), aged between 60 and 85 (M= 75.16, SD=6.50), were recruited to participate in the current study. Main outcome measures: Participants were told to enter a separate room for responding a set of questionnaires after ego-depletion tasks. A trained experimenter wore a mask in the room pretending she was suffering from seasonal flu. The experimenter asked whether the participant would like to wear a mask to protect the potential transmission of seasonal influenza. A pack of facemasks was freely available on the desk. The experimenter recorded whether participants used the facemask and used it correctly without their awareness. Results: Mixed findings were revealed on the percentage of participants who chose to wear facemask between control group and depletion group at Time 1 (40% and 31.5%, respectively), and Time 2 (38.4% and 41.5%, respectively), but the difference is not statistically significant at Time 1, χ2 (1, N = 138) = 1.083, p > .05, and Time 2, χ2 (1, N = 138) = .145, p > .05. Furthermore, no significant differences were found between control group and depletion group on task perception (difficulty, fatigue, and effort) and affect at Time 1 and Time 2. Conclusions: It seems that the ego-depletion effect on facemask wearing cannot be established. It is speculated that the high dispositional self-control of elderly people (M = 46.59, SD = 5.34) might counterbalance the ego-depletion effects.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2016



Zhang, C.-Q., Chung, P.-K., Chan, D. K.-C., Hagger, M., Liu, J. D., & Si, G. (2016, January). Examining the effects of ego-depletion on mask wearing behaviors of influenza prevention in Hong Kong older adults. Paper presented at The International Behavioral Health Conference (BeHealth 2016): Multiplicity in action for better health, Prince Of Wales Hospital, Hong Kong, China.