COVID-19 and seasonal flu vaccination hesitancy: Links to personality and general intelligence in a large, UK cohort

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Vaccines are a powerful and relatively safe tool to protect against a range of serious diseases. Nonetheless, a sizeable minority of people express ‘vaccination hesitancy’. Accordingly, understanding the bases of this hesitancy represents a significant public health challenge. In the present study we sought to examine the role of Big Five personality traits and general intelligence as predictors of vaccination hesitancy, across two vaccination types, in a large (N= 9667) sample of UK adults drawn from the Understanding Society longitudinal household study. We found that lower general intelligence was associated with COVID-19 and seasonal flu vaccination hesitancy, and lower neuroticism was associated with COVID-19 vaccination hesitancy. Although the self-reported reasons for being vaccine hesitant indicated a range of factors were important to people, lower general intelligence was associated with virtually all of these reasons. In contrast, Big 5 personality traits showed more nuanced patterns of association.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4488-4495
Issue number32
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jul 2022

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