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Increasing Mental Resistance to the Influence of COVID-19 Conspiracy Theories

Lübbeling, Niklas (2021) Increasing Mental Resistance to the Influence of COVID-19 Conspiracy Theories.

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Abstract:During the COVID-19 pandemic, many conspiracy theories were spread about the origins and health-risks of the virus. Beliefs in these theories inhibit effective risk communication and have negative health and interpersonal consequences which complicate the fight against the pandemic. Therefore, this study investigated whether an intervention could increase mental resistance towards these theories among students from Dutch universities between the age of 18 to 29. The participants were randomly allocated to either an experimental or control group. Both groups received an intervention combining psychological inoculation and self-persuasion and a questionnaire, yet in different order to measure the effect of the intervention. Moreover, students were asked to evaluate the intervention. A difference in conspiracy beliefs among both conditions was found with students in the experimental condition believing less in conspiracy theories than students in the control condition. Furthermore, neither students’ perceived threat, nor their attitudes towards COVID-19 policies and towards conspiracy theories in general were changed. However, due to limitations for this study, theoretical implications for this research need to be treated with caution. Hence, further research is needed to investigate the effectiveness of an intervention combining psychological inoculation and self-persuasion in increasing mental resistance towards COVID-19 conspiracy theories.
Item Type:Essay (Bachelor)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:77 psychology
Programme:Psychology BSc (56604)
Link to this item:http://purl.utwente.nl/essays/86781
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