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 on July 05, 2016

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

Read More

Access further information on this document at Journal of Health Psychology

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.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation External publication series. Many RAND studies are published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals, as chapters in commercial books, or as documents published by other organizations.

Our mission to help improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis is enabled through our core values of quality and objectivity and our unwavering commitment to the highest level of integrity and ethical behavior. To help ensure our research and analysis are rigorous, objective, and nonpartisan, we subject our research publications to a robust and exacting quality-assurance process; avoid both the appearance and reality of financial and other conflicts of interest through staff training, project screening, and a policy of mandatory disclosure; and pursue transparency in our research engagements through our commitment to the open publication of our research findings and recommendations, disclosure of the source of funding of published research, and policies to ensure intellectual independence. For more information, visit

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.