Anti-Vax Movement Now Aligning More With Anti-Government Conservatives
The anti-vaccination movement is spreading in America and it's becoming a public health problem as more "hot-spots" of infectious diseases like measles are popping up across the nation. Some parents opt not to vaccinate because of the discredited belief vaccines are linked to autism. There is now a mountain of evidence to prove that there is no link, but the theory continues to thrive.
While the anti-vaccination movement started out as an equal opportunity conspiracy theory, not aligned with political ideology, a recent peer reviewed study found that it is morphing into another anti-government movement among conservatives. And it seems to be closely related to a lack of trust in government officials and medical scientists.
National Institute of Health: "Our findings demonstrate that ideology has a direct effect on vaccine attitudes. In particular, conservative respondents are less likely to express pro-vaccination beliefs than other individuals. Furthermore, ideology also has an indirect effect on immunization propensity. The ideology variable predicts an indicator capturing trust in government medical experts, which in turn helps to explain individual-level variation with regards to attitudes about vaccine choice."
And, the authors of the study warn that among those who distrust scientists and government officials, addressing the problem will be difficult because they may dismiss the research that undermines conspiracy theories like the autism connection.
National Institute of Health: "Our findings may provide insights into addressing growing vaccine refusal. Current strategies tend to be driven by a knowledge-deficit approach, attempting to persuade the public by appealing to risks. While we do see that vaccine attitudes are partially driven by resources, our findings suggest that the success of knowledge-deficit strategies will be limited by whether individuals trust the sources by which they are informed of risks and benefits, where this trust in turn can be limited by ideology."
By: Don Lam & Curated Content