Medical Mistrust in the Context of Ebola

Implications for Intended Care-Seeking and Quarantine Policy Support in the United States

Published in: Journal of Health Psychology, 2016

Posted on RAND.org on July 05, 2016

by Valerie A. Earnshaw, Laura M. Bogart, Michael Klompas, Ingrid T. Katz

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This article was published outside of RAND. The full text of the article can be found at the link above.

This investigation explores Ebola conspiracy beliefs, a form of medical mistrust, and their potential impact on health behavior. Results of an online survey in the United States in December 2014 demonstrated that 16 percent of 202 participants held conspiracy beliefs. Participants who were less knowledgeable about Ebola, more mistrustful of medical organizations, and more xenophobic more strongly endorsed conspiracy beliefs. Participants who more strongly endorsed conspiracy beliefs reported that they would be less likely to seek care for Ebola and were less supportive of quarantining people returning from West Africa. Results suggest that medical mistrust may influence health behaviors during infectious disease outbreaks.

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