Anti-Vaccine Beliefs and COVID-19 Information Seeking on Social Media: Examining Processes Influencing COVID-19 Beliefs and Preventative Actions
This study explored how anti-vaccine beliefs and social media use operate as interrelated factors contributing to COVID-19–specific beliefs and actions. Results show that those harboring greater anti-vaccine sentiments rely strongly on social media sources for COVID-19 information. Tests of indirect effects show that COVID-19 information seeking on social media mediates the relationship between anti-vaccine beliefs and COVID-19 conspiracy beliefs. Furthermore, results support a three-step model linking anti-vaccine beliefs to reduced COVID-19 preventative actions through social media use and conspiracy beliefs. Although anti-vaccine beliefs and information seeking contribute to reduced prevention action, the results also indicate these factors have differing relationships with anti-vaccine intentions. Whereas anti-vaccine beliefs predict more vaccine resistance, COVID-19 information seeking on social media contributes to higher levels of vaccine efficacy and intentions.