A new study has found that most people don’t wear sneakers, and that the vast majority of people who do wear them do so to reduce stress and anxiety.
The findings, from the British Psychological Society (BPS), suggest that people who wear sneakers to reduce their stress and avoid anxiety are more likely to have a good working relationship with their employers, as well as be more likely than people who don’t to feel as though they’re being treated unfairly.
The study, published in the journal Computers in Human Behavior, found that of the 5,065 people who completed an online survey, 1,049 (61.9 per cent) had a pair of sneakers, while 769 (22.3 per cent), 775 (14.9%) and 1,034 (9.3%) did not.
A further 749 (22 per cent of those who did not wear sneakers said they had never worn them.)
In total, the researchers said, 1.3 million people had completed the survey.
The results of the study, based on data from a survey of 2,724 people, were analysed by researchers from the University of Leeds, Leeds Metropolitan University and the University College London.
They also compared data from the BPS’ own online survey with the survey of 769 people, which revealed that people with an average age of 45 who did wear sneakers were less likely to report feeling uncomfortable in a social setting.
The researchers, who did a similar analysis for the BLS, also found that people in the lowest socio-economic bracket were more likely, than people in higher socio-economically disadvantaged areas, to report wearing sneakers.
“The results suggest that the majority of respondents do not wear shoes to reduce the stress they feel when interacting with others, but to reduce anxiety,” said Dr John Hirst, a psychology professor at the University at Buffalo and one of the authors of the paper.
“When we think of social anxiety, we usually think of people having a social distancing mechanism, but this study suggests that many people don.”
For many people, social distances are minimal and it’s often difficult for them to realise how much they’re doing to undermine the social environment they’re in.
“This is a great opportunity to develop ways of reducing stress in ways that will improve people’s lives.”
The findings were also of interest to the BIS, because of the growing popularity of custom-made footwear.
The BPS study also found evidence that people were more satisfied with their jobs than those who didn’t wear shoes, with people in general rated as more satisfied overall than those wearing custom-designed footwear.
However, Dr Hirst noted that the study was limited by the limited number of people that took part, which is probably partly because the survey asked for information on how often people wore shoes.
“We didn’t have enough people who were very happy to tell us whether they wear shoes,” he said.
“The survey itself might have been better targeted.”
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