Deprived, Radical, Alternatively Informed

Factors Associated with People’s Belief in Covid-19 Related Conspiracy Theories and their Vaccination Intentions in Germany

Authors

  • Marc Ziegele Department of Social Sciences at the University of Duesseldorf, Germany https://orcid.org/0000-0002-2710-0955
  • Maike Resing Department of Social Sciences at the University of Duesseldorf, Germany
  • Katharina Frehmann Department of Social Sciences at the University of Duesseldorf, Germany https://orcid.org/0000-0002-0226-5884
  • Nikolaus Jackob Department of Communication, Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz, Germany
  • Ilka Jakobs Department of Communication, Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz, Germany https://orcid.org/0000-0001-8093-4644
  • Oliver Quiring Department of Communication, Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz, Germany https://orcid.org/0000-0002-6671-583X
  • Christian Schemer Department of Communication, Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz, Germany https://orcid.org/0000-0002-7808-2240
  • Tanjev Schultz Department of Communication, Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz, Germany https://orcid.org/0000-0001-6792-7853
  • Christina Viehmann Department of Communication, Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz, Germany https://orcid.org/0000-0001-6673-0987

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.47368/ejhc.2022.205

Keywords:

Covid-19 conspiracy theories, vaccination intentions, right-wing radicalism, alternative news, relative deprivation

Abstract

The Covid-19 pandemic was accompanied by a massive increase of the supply and demand for pandemic-related information. Similarly, conspiracy theories about the origins and functions of the Covid-19 virus flourished during the early stages of the pandemic. The present study draws on a nationally representative sample of the German population aged 18+ (N = 1,207) to investigate factors that are associated with people’s susceptibility to believe in such theories. We draw on research from sociology, political science, and communication to predict that factors related to relative deprivation, political radicalism, and the consumption of alternative news on websites, video platforms, Social Network Sites, and messenger services are associated with an increased belief in Covid-19 conspiracy theories. The data largely supports our assumptions. Additionally, we show that the strength of belief in Covid-19 conspiracy theories is associated with reduced vaccination intentions, which suggests detrimental real-world health consequences of such a belief.

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Published

22.09.2022

How to Cite

Ziegele, M., Resing, M., Frehmann, K., Jackob, N., Jakobs, I., Quiring, O., … Viehmann, C. (2022). Deprived, Radical, Alternatively Informed: Factors Associated with People’s Belief in Covid-19 Related Conspiracy Theories and their Vaccination Intentions in Germany. European Journal of Health Communication, 3(2), 97–130. https://doi.org/10.47368/ejhc.2022.205