Media Exposure to Conspiracy vs. Anti-conspiracy Information. Effects on the Willingness to Accept a COVID-19 Vaccine.

Authors

  • Raluca Buturoiu College of Communication and Public Relations, National University of Political Studies and Public Administration https://orcid.org/0000-0001-9841-0929
  • Georgiana Udrea College of Communication and Public Relations, National University of Political Studies and Public Administration
  • Alexandru Cristian Dumitrache College of Communication and Public Relations, National University of Political Studies and Public Administration
  • Nicoleta Corbu College of Communication and Public Relations, National University of Political Studies and Public Administration https://orcid.org/0000-0001-9606-9827

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.51480/1899-5101.14.2(29).3

Keywords:

vaccine hesitancy, media exposure, disinformation, conspiracy theories, counter-conspiracy narratives

Abstract

The COVID-19 pandemic opened the doors for a corresponding “infodemic”, associated with various misleading narratives related to the SARS-CoV-2 virus. As the way to stop the pandemic was unveiled, misleading narratives switched from the disease itself to the vaccine. Nevertheless, a rather scarce corpus of literature has approached the effects of these narratives on the willingness to take a vaccine against COVID-19. This study investigates how exposure to conspiracy narratives versus information that counter these narratives influences people’s willingness to get vaccinated. Based on an experimental design, using a sample of Romanian students (N=301), this research shows that exposure to factual information related to COVID-19 vaccines meant to debunk conspiracy theories leads to higher willingness to vaccinate. Furthermore, this study shows that young, educated Romanians consider distant others to be more influenced by conspiracy theories on this topic, and, therefore, more prone to exhibit hesitancy towards COVID-19 vaccination.

Author Biographies

Raluca Buturoiu, College of Communication and Public Relations, National University of Political Studies and Public Administration

Raluca Buturoiu is Lecturer at the College of Communication and Public Relations, National University of Political Studies and Public Administration. Raluca is currently a Postdoctoral Researcher and member of the Media Studies Lab affiliated to the Centre for Research in Communication, SNSPA.

Georgiana Udrea, College of Communication and Public Relations, National University of Political Studies and Public Administration

Georgiana Udrea is Lecturer at the Department of Communication, National University of Political Studies and Public Administration, Bucharest, and member of the Center for EU Communication Studies within the same institution. Her research interests include EU-related topics, mobile people’s identity dynamics and social media use in academic context.

Alexandru Cristian Dumitrache, College of Communication and Public Relations, National University of Political Studies and Public Administration

Alexandru Cristian Dumitrache is PhD candidate at the College of Communication and Public Relations, National University of Political Studies and Public Administration, and a researcher for the Media Studies Lab, within the Centre for Research in Communication. His research interests include subjects such as "fake news", "dis/misinformation", "propaganda", "conspiracy theories" and "social media".

Nicoleta Corbu, College of Communication and Public Relations, National University of Political Studies and Public Administration

Nicoleta Corbu is Professor at the College of Communication and Public Relations, National University of Political Studies and Public Administration (SNSPA), where she coordinates, as executive director, the Center for Research in Communication. She currently serves as director of the PhD school of SNSPA. She is member of NEPOCS since 2018. 

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Published

2022-01-13

How to Cite

Buturoiu, R., Udrea, G., Dumitrache, A. C., & Corbu, N. (2022). Media Exposure to Conspiracy vs. Anti-conspiracy Information. Effects on the Willingness to Accept a COVID-19 Vaccine. Central European Journal of Communication, 14(2(29), 237-258. https://doi.org/10.51480/1899-5101.14.2(29).3

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Scientific Papers