Relationship of people's sources of health information and political ideology with acceptance of conspiratorial beliefs about vaccines

Jieyu D. Featherstone, Robert A Bell, Jeanette B. Ruiz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Conspiracies about vaccination are prevalent. We assessed how the health information sources people rely upon and their political ideologies are associated with acceptance of vaccine conspiracies. Methods: Online survey (N = 599) on Amazon's Mechanical Turk crowdsource platform. Hypotheses were tested via structural equation modeling. Results: Acceptance of vaccine conspiracy beliefs was associated positively with greater reliance on social media for health information (coef. = 0.42, p < .001), inversely related to use of medical websites (coef. = −0.21, p < .001), and not significantly related to use of providers for health information (coef. = −0.13, p = .061). In addition, liberal political orientation was negatively associated with acceptance of vaccine conspiracies (coef. = −0.29, p < .001). Conclusions: An understanding of vaccine conspiracy acceptance requires a consideration of people's health information sources. The greater susceptibility of political conservatives to conspiracy beliefs extends to the topic of vaccination.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2993-2997
Number of pages5
JournalVaccine
Volume37
Issue number23
DOIs
StatePublished - May 21 2019

Keywords

  • Conspiracy beliefs
  • Political ideology
  • Social media
  • Vaccines

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • veterinary(all)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases

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