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IACM 2022

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Interdependent Self-Construal as a Mitigating Factor in the Relationship Between Political Identity, COVID-19 Conspiratorial Beliefs, and Negative Attitudes Toward Vaccination

As people who hold COVID-19 conspiratorial beliefs are less likely to get vaccinated against COVID-19, it is important to both understand what leads to the formation of these beliefs and how to eliminate their downstream adverse effects. We examine political identity as a key driver of COVID-19 conspiratorial beliefs and suggest that these beliefs negatively affect attitudes towards vaccinations. Furthermore, we propose that increasing interdependent self-construal (i.e., seeing oneself through the lens of one's social relationships), is an effective social intervention that weakens the link between COVID-19 conspiratorial beliefs and negative attitudes towards COVID-19 vaccines. Two studies established that compared to Democrats and Independents, Republicans are more likely to believe in COVID-19 conspiracy theories and as a result, hold more negative vaccination attitudes. Moreover, this effect weakened for people who possess high levels of interdependent self-construal because these individual perceived greater social risks in the environment.

Yingli Deng
Durham University
United Kingdom

Benjamin Dow
University of Washington in St. Louis
United States

Jennifer Whitson
UCLA Anderson School of Management
United States

Cynthia Wang
Northwestern University
United States


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