Psychological links to anti-vaccination attitude investigated – Consumer Health Digest

And more on the anti-vaccination myths. Worth subscribing to Dr. Barrett’s blog.

All issues of the Digest are accessible through http://www.ncahf.org/digest18/index.html. To subscribe from a new address, send a blank message to chd-subscribe@lists.quackwatch.org.


There is no clear evidence that debunking anti-vaccination myths has a significant effect on anti-vaccination attitudes. To explore why this is so, Australian researchers surveyed people in 24 countries ionn six continents. Based on responses from 5,323 participants, the researchers found that anti-vaccination attitudes scores were associated with:

  • conspiratorial thinking
  • reactance (the tendency to have low tolerance for impingements on one’s freedom)
  • disgust toward blood and needles
  • individualistic and hierarchical as opposed to egalitarian and communitarian worldview

These relationships were not strong among respondents in Asian and South American countries, but in Australia, Canada, Germany, New Zealand, U.K., and the U.S.A., beliefs about conspiracies were found to account for 17% to 27% of the variation in anti-vaccination attitude. Gender and education level were not significantly related to anti-vaccination attitude, but conservative political ideology and younger age were each found to be weakly related. [Hornsey MJ and others. The psychological roots of anti-vaccination attitudes: A 24-nation investigation. Health Psychology 37:307-315, 2018]

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