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Biowarfare conspiracy, faith in government, and compliance with safety guidelines during COVID-19: an international study

Olga Khokhlova (), Nishtha Lamba, Aditi Bhatia and Marina Vinogradova
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Olga Khokhlova: Middlesex University Dubai
Nishtha Lamba: Middlesex University Dubai
Aditi Bhatia: Middlesex University Dubai
Marina Vinogradova: Lomonosov Moscow State University

Mind & Society: Cognitive Studies in Economics and Social Sciences, 2021, vol. 20, issue 2, No 11, 235-251

Abstract: Abstract In light of the coronavirus pandemic, an international study (N = 1066) was conducted to explore the new bioterrorism conspiracy, faith in government, and compliance with public health guidelines related to COVID-19. Hierarchical regressions showed that while general belief in conspiracies decreased faith in government during COVID-19, it increased belief in bioterrorism regarding the coronavirus. Critical thinking was associated with decreased endorsement of biowarfare conspiracy. Higher levels of belief in bioterrorism, faith in government, and perceived risk positively facilitated compliance behavior in public internationally. Interestingly, while people reported ‘worrying about others’ as their motivation to follow guidelines, ‘worrying about self’ was most strongly associated with compliance. The implications of these findings are discussed in the light of enhancing compliance with public health guidelines and effective ways of conveying them to an increasingly polarized society.

Keywords: Conspiracy; Bioweapon; COVID-19; Faith in government; Public health measures (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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DOI: 10.1007/s11299-021-00282-4

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