Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Despite the vast majority of the eligible U.S. adult population being vaccinated against COVID-19, geographical clusters of unvaccinated individuals pose a substantial risk of outbreak. It is important to encourage as many individuals as possible to vaccinate against COVID-19 to reduce its spread and severity. Past research has identified endorsement of the purity and liberty moral foundations – intuitive domains of moral concern – as predictors of vaccine hesitancy and political conservatism, while conservatism is itself associated with vaccine hesitancy. Across two online surveys, I examined the effects of a message invoking the purity and liberty foundations as well as the effects of a message modified from the CDC’s website attempting to debunk myths about COVID-19 vaccines on intentions to receive a COVID-19 vaccine among individuals who have not yet received a COVID-19 vaccine. I hypothesized that the foundations-based message would significantly increase intentions relative to a control condition, particularly among those who score high on the purity and liberty foundations and those who are likely to do so (i.e., conservatives) by increasing the perception that the message source is a member of their ingroup, that COVID-19 violates values shared by ingroup members and is therefore harmful, and that COVID-19 vaccines can protect and uphold these values. I hypothesized that the myths and facts message would not increase intentions. Contrary to hypotheses, neither the foundation-based message nor the myths and facts message increased COVID-19 vaccination intentions. However, as hypothesized, perceptions of source ingroup membership, endorsement of the purity and liberty foundations, perceptions that COVID-19 violates these foundations, perceptions that COVID-19 is harmful, and perceived benefits of COVID-19 vaccination all predicted vaccination intentions, particularly among conservatives.
Ray, Cara Elizabeth, "Leveraging Moral Foundations to Increase COVID-19 Vaccination" (2022). Dissertations. 3946.
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Copyright © 2022 Cara Elizabeth Ray