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Br J Soc Psychol ; 2022 Nov 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2227059


Conspiracy Beliefs (CB) are a key vector of violent extremism, radicalism and unconventional political events. So far, social-psychological research has extensively documented how cognitive, emotional and intergroup factors can promote CB. Evidence also suggests that adherence to CB moves along social class lines: low-income and low-education are among the most robust predictors of CB. Yet, the potential role of precarity-the subjective experience of permanent insecurity stemming from objective material strain-in shaping CB remains largely unexplored. In this paper, we propose for the first time a socio-functional model of CB. We test the hypothesis that precarity could foster increased CB because it undermines trust in government and the broader political 'elites'. Data from the World Value Survey (n = 21,650; Study 1, electoral CB) and from representative samples from polls conducted in France (n = 1760, Study 2a, conspiracy mentality) and Italy (n = 2196, Study 2b, COVID-19 CB), corroborate a mediation model whereby precarity is directly and indirectly associated with lower trust in authorities and higher CB. In addition, these links are robust to adjustment on income, self-reported SES and education. Considering precarity allows for a truly social-psychological understanding of CB as the by-product of structural issues (e.g. growing inequalities). Results from our socio-functional model suggest that implementing solutions at the socio-economic level could prove efficient in fighting CB.

Int J Public Health ; 66: 1604223, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1725465


Objectives: To explore how perceived disease threat and trust in institutions relate to vaccination intent, perceived effectiveness of official recommendations, and to othering strategies. Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional survey of Swiss adults in July 2020. Outcome variables were vaccination intent, perceived effectiveness of official recommendations and othering strategies (labelling a given social group as responsible for the disease and distancing from it). Independent variables were perceived disease threat, trust in various institutions, perceived health-related measures, and sociodemographic variables. Linear and logistic regressions were performed. Results: The response rate was 20.2% (1518/7500). Perceived disease threat and trust in medical/scientific institutions were positively associated with vaccination intent and perceived effectiveness of official recommendations for coronavirus mitigation measures. Only disease threat was associated with a perception of effectiveness among othering strategies. Age and education levels were associated with vaccination intent. Conclusion: Reinforcing trust in medical/scientific institutions can help strengthen the perceived effectiveness of official recommendations and vaccination. It however does not prevent adherence to ineffective protecting measures such as othering strategies, where decreasing perceptions of epidemic threat appears to be more efficient.

COVID-19 , Trust , Adult , Cross-Sectional Studies , Humans , Public Opinion , SARS-CoV-2 , Switzerland