Recent Research Reveals Extroverts Exhibit Higher COVID-19 Vaccine Hesitancy
A recent investigation involving more than 40,000 Canadian individuals has brought to light a surprising trend: extroverts are displaying a greater degree of reluctance when it comes to accepting the COVID-19 vaccine, contrary to initial expectations. This comprehensive study, conducted between November 2020 and July 2021, unveiled that while individuals with elevated levels of openness and agreeableness were more inclined to receive the vaccine, extroverts exhibited an 18% higher likelihood of refusing it. These revelations carry substantial implications for the customization of future public health communications based on personality traits.
In a period marked by the peak of the pandemic, researchers sought to identify which personality types exhibited a more hesitant stance towards obtaining the COVID-19 vaccine. Surprisingly, extroverts emerged as the demographic displaying greater hesitancy, a phenomenon contrary to what was initially anticipated.
The implications of these findings extend beyond the realm of COVID-19. Published in the prestigious journal “Frontiers in Psychology,” this study provides valuable insights for the formulation of future public health messaging strategies and vaccination campaigns. The collaborative team of scientists from the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) and the University of Toronto emphasizes the need to explore vaccine hesitancy from a diverse perspective, as previous research had predominantly focused on political affiliations.
Lead author Melissa Baker, Ph.D., an assistant professor at UTEP, explained, “We wanted to look at vaccine hesitancy a different way. Of course, politics can help explain some of it, but there are personal differences between people, too — and that led us to this personality aspect.”
The research methodology involved surveys conducted among more than 40,000 Canadian adults, utilizing the well-established “big five” personality model, which assesses an individual’s levels of openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and emotional stability. Additionally, respondents were queried about their attitudes toward vaccination, including questions such as, “When a COVID-19 vaccine becomes available, will you be vaccinated?”
Many of the study’s hypotheses received validation. Notably, those who exhibited greater openness and agreeableness were more predisposed to accepting the vaccine. Baker elaborated, stating, “Those are the kind of people who are open to new things, new information, and just like to go with the flow. We also expected that for people with high conscientiousness because they are detail-oriented and big planners.”
Conversely, individuals with low emotional stability, characterized by extreme emotional responses, displayed a decreased likelihood of vaccine acceptance. Most surprising was the revelation that extroverts, often associated with socialization and interaction, were found to be 18 percent more inclined to decline vaccination.
The implications of this research extend beyond the current pandemic, as the findings could inform future public health messaging strategies for various diseases, not limited to COVID-19. Baker highlighted the significance of tailoring messages to specific personality types, emphasizing, “If we know you need to reach a certain type of personality, we can think about the message that will actually reach and persuade that person.”
Reference: “Dynamic role of personality in explaining COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy and refusal” by Melissa N. Baker and Eric Merkley, 15 June 2023, Frontiers in Psychology. DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2023.1163570
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about vaccine hesitancy
What did the recent research discover about extroverts and COVID-19 vaccines?
The recent research found that extroverts were surprisingly more hesitant to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, in contrast to initial expectations. Extroverts exhibited an 18% higher likelihood of refusing the vaccine.
How was the research conducted?
The research involved surveys conducted among over 40,000 Canadian adults between November 2020 and July 2021. Participants’ personalities were assessed using the “big five” personality model, which evaluates traits such as openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and emotional stability. They were also asked about their willingness to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
Were any personality traits positively associated with vaccine acceptance?
Yes, the study found that individuals with higher levels of openness and agreeableness were more likely to accept the COVID-19 vaccine. These individuals were more open to new information and inclined to go with the flow.
What about individuals with low emotional stability?
Individuals with low emotional stability, characterized by extreme emotional responses, were found to be less likely to accept the vaccine.
How could these findings impact future public health messaging?
These findings have significant implications for tailoring future public health messaging and vaccination campaigns. Understanding that personality traits play a role in vaccine hesitancy can help design messages that are more effective in persuading different personality types to get vaccinated.
Does this research only apply to COVID-19 vaccines?
No, the research suggests that these personality traits may influence vaccine acceptance for various diseases, not limited to COVID-19. Therefore, the insights gained from this study can be applied to future public health campaigns targeting different vaccinations.
More about vaccine hesitancy
- Frontiers in Psychology (Journal where the research findings were published)
- Dynamic role of personality in explaining COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy and refusal (Link to the specific research paper)
- University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) (Affiliation of lead author Melissa Baker, Ph.D.)
- University of Toronto (Affiliation of researchers involved in the study)