Cognitive and Cultural Factors That Affect General Vaccination and COVID-19 Vaccination Attitudes

Alla Keselman, Catherine Arnott Smith, Amanda J. Wilson, Gondy Leroy, David R. Kaufman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The development of COVID-19 vaccines is a major scientific accomplishment that has armed communities worldwide with powerful epidemic control tools. Yet, COVID-19 vaccination efforts in the US have been marred by persistent vaccine hesitancy. We used survey methodology to explore the impact of different cognitive and cultural factors on the public’s general vaccination attitudes, attitudes towards COVID-19 vaccines, and COVID-19 vaccination status. The factors include information literacy, science literacy, attitudes towards science, interpersonal trust, public health trust, political ideology, and religiosity. The analysis suggests that attitudes towards vaccination are influenced by a multitude of factors that operate in a complex manner. General vaccination attitude was most affected by attitudes towards science and public health trust and to a lesser degree by information literacy, science literacy, and religiosity. Attitudes towards COVID-19 vaccines were most affected by public health trust and to a lesser extent by general trust, ideology and attitudes towards science. Vaccination status was most influenced by public health trust. Possible mediating effects of correlated variables in the model need to be further explored. The study underscores the importance of understanding the relationship between public health trust, literacies, and sociocultural factors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number94
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2023


  • COVID-19
  • information literacy
  • misinformation
  • science literacy
  • trust
  • vaccination hesitancy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Pharmacology
  • Drug Discovery
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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