Trust in scientific information mediates associations between conservatism and coronavirus responses in the U.S., but few other nations

Quinnehtukqut McLamore, Stylianos Syropoulos, Bernhard Leidner, Gilad Hirschberger, Kevin Young, Rizqy Amelia Zein, Anna Baumert, Michal Bilewicz, Arda Bilgen, Maarten J. van Bezouw, Armand Chatard, Peggy Chekroun, Juana Chinchilla, Hoon Seok Choi, Hyun Euh, Angel Gomez, Peter Kardos, Ying Hooi Khoo, Mengyao Li, Jean Baptiste LégalSteve Loughnan, Silvia Mari, Roseann Tan-Mansukhani, Orla Muldoon, Masi Noor, Maria Paola Paladino, Nebojša Petrović, Hema Preya Selvanathan, Özden Melis Uluğ, Michael J. Wohl, Wai Lan Victoria Yeung, B. Burrows

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


U.S.-based research suggests conservatism is linked with less concern about contracting coronavirus and less preventative behaviors to avoid infection. Here, we investigate whether these tendencies are partly attributable to distrust in scientific information, and evaluate whether they generalize outside the U.S., using public data and recruited representative samples across three studies (Ntotal = 34,710). In Studies 1 and 2, we examine these relationships in the U.S., yielding converging evidence for a sequential indirect effect of conservatism on compliance through scientific (dis)trust and infection concern. In Study 3, we compare these relationships across 19 distinct countries. Although the relationships between trust in scientific information about the coronavirus, concern about coronavirus infection, and compliance are consistent cross-nationally, the relationships between conservatism and trust in scientific information are not. These relationships are strongest in North America. Consequently, the indirect effects observed in Studies 1–2 only replicate in North America (the U.S. and Canada) and in Indonesia. Study 3 also found parallel direct and indirect effects on support for lockdown restrictions. These associations suggest not only that relationships between conservatism and compliance are not universal, but localized to particular countries where conservatism is more strongly related to trust in scientific information about the coronavirus pandemic.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3724
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022


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