Celebrity Admiration, Conspiratorial Belief, and Anti-vaccination Attitudes: Examining Relationships and Establishing Pragmatic Research

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North American Journal of Psychology




Vaccinations, conspiracy theories, and celebrities are all popular topics in contemporary society. Anti-vaccination attitudes and conspiratorial beliefs, especially, have emerged as more prevalent against the backdrop of the 2020 election and Covid-19 pandemic. Martinez-Berman et al. (2020), collected data on these topics prior to the emergence of the Covid-19 pandemic and found a positive relationship between anti-vaccination attitudes and celebrity admiration. Further, there were positive relationships between conspiratorial beliefs and dimensions of celebrity admiration. In this study, we replicated and extended this work to a university-aged sample, to document anti-vaccination attitudes and conspiratorial beliefs at a different time of the Covid-19 pandemic, and to conduct a validity check of the single-item Belief in Conspiracy Theories scale with a more sophisticated measure of conspiratorial belief, the General Conspiratorial Belief (GCB) scale. We discovered overall attitudes toward vaccinations to be similar to those in the prior study. However, participants in our study reported lower mistrust of vaccinations and greater concern for future effects of vaccinations than participants in the previous study. In contrast to the results of the prior study, we found that interest in celebrities was not a significant predictor of vaccination attitudes. We discussed the results in the context of the replication and extension nature of the project and present goals for future research into the relationships among the key variables.