Cross-Sectional Psychological and Demographic Associations of Zika Knowledge and Conspiracy Beliefs Before and After Local Zika Transmission

Rachael Piltch-Loeb, Brian J. Zikmund-Fisher, Victoria A. Shaffer, Laura D. Scherer, Megan Knaus, Angie Fagerlin, David Abramson, Aaron M. Scherer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Perceptions of infectious diseases are important predictors of whether people engage in disease-specific preventive behaviors. Having accurate beliefs about a given infectious disease has been found to be a necessary condition for engaging in appropriate preventive behaviors during an infectious disease outbreak, while endorsing conspiracy beliefs can inhibit preventive behaviors. Despite their seemingly opposing natures, knowledge and conspiracy beliefs may share some of the same psychological motivations, including a relationship with perceived risk and self-efficacy (i.e., control). The 2015–2016 Zika epidemic provided an opportunity to explore this. The current research provides some exploratory tests of this topic derived from two studies with similar measures, but different primary outcomes: one study that included knowledge of Zika as a key outcome and one that included conspiracy beliefs about Zika as a key outcome. Both studies involved cross-sectional data collections that occurred during the same two periods of the Zika outbreak: one data collection prior to the first cases of local Zika transmission in the United States (March–May 2016) and one just after the first cases of local transmission (July–August). Using ordinal logistic and linear regression analyses of data from two time points in both studies, the authors show an increase in relationship strength between greater perceived risk and self-efficacy with both increased knowledge and increased conspiracy beliefs after local Zika transmission in the United States. Although these results highlight that similar psychological motivations may lead to Zika knowledge and conspiracy beliefs, there was a divergence in demographic association.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalRisk Analysis
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019

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Demography
Psychology
Self Efficacy
Disease Outbreaks
Communicable Diseases
Motivation
Linear regression
Logistics
Linear Models
Cross-Sectional Studies
Logistic Models
Regression Analysis
Outcome Assessment (Health Care)
Research

Keywords

  • Conspiracy belief
  • knowledge
  • perceived risk
  • Zika

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Physiology (medical)

Cite this

Piltch-Loeb, R., Zikmund-Fisher, B. J., Shaffer, V. A., Scherer, L. D., Knaus, M., Fagerlin, A., ... Scherer, A. M. (2019). Cross-Sectional Psychological and Demographic Associations of Zika Knowledge and Conspiracy Beliefs Before and After Local Zika Transmission. Risk Analysis. https://doi.org/10.1111/risa.13369

Cross-Sectional Psychological and Demographic Associations of Zika Knowledge and Conspiracy Beliefs Before and After Local Zika Transmission. / Piltch-Loeb, Rachael; Zikmund-Fisher, Brian J.; Shaffer, Victoria A.; Scherer, Laura D.; Knaus, Megan; Fagerlin, Angie; Abramson, David; Scherer, Aaron M.

In: Risk Analysis, 01.01.2019.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Piltch-Loeb, Rachael ; Zikmund-Fisher, Brian J. ; Shaffer, Victoria A. ; Scherer, Laura D. ; Knaus, Megan ; Fagerlin, Angie ; Abramson, David ; Scherer, Aaron M. / Cross-Sectional Psychological and Demographic Associations of Zika Knowledge and Conspiracy Beliefs Before and After Local Zika Transmission. In: Risk Analysis. 2019.
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