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Appears in Collections:Faculty of Health Sciences and Sport Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: Going against the herd: psychological and cultural factors underlying the 'vaccination confidence gap'
Authors: Browne, Matthew
Thomson, Patricia
Rockloff, Matthew
Pennycook, Gordon
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Issue Date: 1-Sep-2015
Publisher: Public Library of Science
Citation: Browne M, Thomson P, Rockloff M & Pennycook G (2015) Going against the herd: psychological and cultural factors underlying the 'vaccination confidence gap', PLoS ONE, 10 (9), Art. No.: e0132562.
Abstract: By far the most common strategy used in the attempt to modify negative attitudes toward vaccination is to appeal to evidence-based reasoning. We argue, however, that focusing on science comprehension is inconsistent with one of the key facts of cognitive psychology: Humans are biased information processors and often engage in motivated reasoning. On this basis, we hypothesised that negative attitudes can be explained primarily by factors unrelated to the empirical evidence for vaccination; including some shared attitudes that also attract people to complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). In particular, we tested psychosocial factors associated with CAM endorsement in past research; including aspects of spirituality, intuitive (vs analytic) thinking styles, and the personality trait of openness to experience. These relationships were tested in a cross-sectional, stratified CATI survey (N = 1256, 624 Females). Whilst educational level and thinking style did not predict vaccination rejection, psychosocial factors including: preferring CAM to conventional medicine (OR .49, 95% CI .36 .83, 95% CI .71 to vaccination. Furthermore, for 9 of the 12 CAMs surveyed, utilisation in the last 12 months was associated with lower levels of vaccination endorsement. From this we suggest that vaccination scepticism appears to be the outcome of a particular cultural and psychological orientation leading to unwillingness to engage with the scientific evidence. Vaccination compliance might be increased either by building general confidence and understanding of evidence-based medicine, or by appealing to features usually associated with CAM, e.g.–.66), endorsement of spirituality as a source of knowledge (OR–.96), and openness (OR .86, 95% CI .74–.99), all predicted negative attitudes‘strengthening your natural resistance to disease’.
Type: Journal Article
DOI Link:
Rights: © 2015 Browne et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited
Affiliation: Central Queensland University
HS Research - Stirling
Central Queensland University
Central Queensland University

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