The Psychological Roots of Anti-Vaccination Attitudes: A 24-Nation Investigation
Based on the literature review in the beginning of the article, identify reasons why there has been a rise in the anti-vaccination movement
The rise in the anti-vaccination movement is primarily attributed to misinformation among the general public as well as the fear of the unknown. The public has been subjected to extreme negative messages about vaccination and its supposed destructive consequences on populations. As a consequence, many people have become skeptics and developed negative perceptions and attitudes towards vaccination (Hornsey et al., 2018, p. 307).
This is allowed to continue because there are no sufficient communication channels that experts can use to reach out to people and dissuade them from believing the negative information advanced by anti-vaccination activists. Second, some people just have natural phobias and fears against vaccination that no amount of convincing will make them embrace the exercise. People who have such phobias and fears have, in turn, developed negative attitudes towards vaccination. Incidentally, the anti-vaccination crusaders have strategically positioned themselves to have such people on board to reinforce their opposition to the exercise.
Based on the literature review, identify one factor that is correlated with having anti-vaccination views?
One such factor is reactance, which is a value expressive function that denotes an attitude’s capacity to communicate to oneself and to others what he or she would like to be (Hornsey et al., 2018, p. 308). This an attitude roots model that gives one a certain degree of fulfillment in having a reputation of non-conformism. Therefore, the person will develop skepticism and intolerance towards ideas or views that are universally accepted. In this case of immunization, they will interpret it as being directed into doing things that they have not thought of (Hornsey et al., 2018, p. 308). The degree by which some people cultivate this self-image will drive them to reject consensus views like vaccination. To them, they are communicating their non-conformist identities, not only to themselves but also to others as well.
The sample size for this study
The sample size is 5323, which represent the number of usable participants after screening out the unwanted participants. These were specifically those who lived in nations other than the country they were being sample and those with more than 90% missing data (Hornsey et al., 2018, p. 309).
REASON why a participant may have been screened out of the final sample that was used for this study
A participant who lived in a country other than the one being sampled was screened out. Additionally, participants whose 90% of the data could not be found were also screened out (Hornsey et al., 2018, p. 309). These included participants whose education levels and ages could not be established. The target sample was supposed to comprise of individuals with at least tertiary education levels.
Generalizability issue with the sample as reported by the researchers
Since the sample was solely collected over the internet, it relied on individuals who have relatively high literacy levels. This means that people with high education levels were overrepresented in the study at the expense of the less educated ones (Hornsey et al., 2018, p. 313).
How the results of this research could be applied to Americans right now who may be reluctant or sceptical of getting the COVID-vaccination? In other words, how might what was learned in this study be used to inform how scientists or the Biden administration communicate with the public regarding encouraging Americans to sign up to get vaccinated once they are eligible or able?
From the results of this study, it has emerged that vaccination has much deeper barriers that transcend beyond beliefs and attitudes. Skeptics of immunization have put across strong arguments that tend to endorse myths and supposed risks associated with the exercise. The advantage of this skepticism among the public is that it provides policymakers with useful data that explains the behavior of the public towards immunization. It also opens up novel opportunities that are geared towards promoting the intentions of vaccinations (Hornsey et al., 2018, p. 312). Currently, the United States is in the process of vaccinating its populations with the COVID-19 jab.
However, although the process is relatively successful compared to other countries in the world, there are still significant skepticisms associated with it. Therefore, there is no better time to apply the results of this study than now. The Biden administration can rely on the results of this study to understand the root causes of these kinds of skepticism in order to approach the process from a more informed perspective.
From the results of the study, it has emerged that the negative attitudes that skeptics have against vaccinations are centered around belief in conspiracy theories, reactance, and fear or disgust toward needles and blood. The identification of these root causes can be used in understanding why some Americans are skeptical about the vaccine (Hornsey et al., 2018). The results will, therefore, be used to convince the American public that the vaccines are safe and well-intended. This will entail being open to the public and explaining to them the ingredients used in the manufacture of the vaccines to debunk the conspiracies associated with the vaccines. Indeed, the most common conspiracy theory that has been advanced against the COVID-19 vaccination is that the vaccines cause infertility.
The American public will also benefit from reliable information based in the explanations that will be advanced as a result of the outcomes of this study. The scientists will explain to the public the reasons why the vaccines cannot cause infertility among the populations. This will entail disclosing the protein elements that were used in the composition of the vaccines and their efficacies vis a vis those that are used for infertility. This will be an effective way of dissuading the public from believing in unfounded allegations. On the other hand, if the scientists just decide to keep quiet in the face of mounting conspiracy theories, the vaccination efforts will not likely bear any positive results.
The American public will also be persuaded to drop their non-conformist nature when it comes to a matter of life and death like the COVID-19 case. Its target will be to win the trust of the reactance population that is guided by non-conformist agenda. On the other hand, the best intervention for those who fear needles, hospitals and blood is to change the settings upon which they are vaccinated. This can be achieved by vaccinating them at home or at their workplaces.
Hornsey, M. J., Harris, E. A., & Fielding, K. S. (2018). The Psychological Roots of Anti-Vaccination Attitudes: A 24-Nation Investigation. Health Psychology, 37(4), 307–315. Web.