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  1. Jonason, Peter Karl (Ed.)
    At the time of writing, nearly one hundred published studies demonstrate that beliefs in COVID-19 conspiracy theories and misinformation are negatively associated with COVID-19 preventive behaviors. These correlational findings are often interpreted as evidence that beliefs in conspiracy theories and misinformation are exogenous factors that shape human behavior, such as forgoing vaccination. This interpretation has motivated researchers to develop methods for “prebunking,” “debunking,” or otherwise limiting the spread of conspiracy theories and misinformation online. However, the robust literatures on conspiracy theory beliefs, health behaviors, and media effects lead us to question whether beliefs in conspiracy theories and misinformation should be treated as exogenous to vaccine hesitancy and refusal. Employing U.S. survey data (n = 2,065) from July 2021, we show that beliefs in COVID-19 conspiracy theories and misinformation are not only related to COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy and refusal, but also strongly associated with the same psychological, social, and political motivations theorized to drive COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy and refusal. These findings suggest that beliefs in conspiracy theories and misinformation might not always be an exogenous cause, but rather a manifestation of the same factors that lead to vaccine hesitancy and refusal. We conclude by encouraging researchers to carefully consider modeling choicesmore »and imploring practitioners to refocus on the worldviews, personality traits, and political orientations that underlie both health-related behaviors and beliefs in conspiracy theories and misinformation.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available October 26, 2023
  2. Free, publicly-accessible full text available August 1, 2023
  3. Conspiracy theories and misinformation (CTM) became a salient feature of the Trump era. However, traditional explanations of political attitudes and behaviors inadequately account for beliefs in CTM or the deleterious behaviors they are associated with. Here, we integrate disparate literatures to explain beliefs in CTM regarding COVID-19, QAnon, and voter fraud. We aim to provide a more holistic accounting, and to determine which political, psychological, and social factors are most associated with such beliefs. Using a unique national survey, we find that anti-social personality traits, anti-establishment orientations, and support for Donald Trump are more strongly related to beliefs in CTM than traditional left-right orientations or other frequently posited factors, such as education, science literacy, and social media use. Our findings encourage researchers to move beyond the traditional correlates of political behavior when examining beliefs that express anti-social tendencies or a deep skepticism of social and political institutions.

    Free, publicly-accessible full text available November 10, 2023
  4. null (Ed.)
  5. Objective To assess the links between structural and household determinants of household water insecurity and test three water insecurity measures against self-reported diarrhoea, dengue fever and perceived stress in the middle-income and low-income urban areas of Torreón, Mexico. Design Cross-sectional household survey conducted in two waves (rainy and dry seasons). Participants 500 households selected via multistage cluster sample in selected communities. Socioeconomic status determined the selection of participant neighbourhoods; five were identified in low socioeconomic status neighbourhoods and five in low-medium socioeconomic status neighbourhoods. We examine how the context of urban water provision is related to a new cross-culturally valid Household Water Insecurity Experiences (HWISE) Scale. Primary outcome measures The HWISE Scale, self-reported diarrhoea, dengue fever and the Perceived Stress Scale. Results Water system intermittency (adjusted OR (AOR) 3.96, 95% CI 2.40 to 6.54, p<0.001), unpredictability (AOR 2.24, 95% CI 1.34 to 3.74, p=0.002) and the dry season (AOR 3.47, 95% CI 2.18 to 5.52, p<0.001) were structural correlates of the HWISE Scale. This study also found that the HWISE Scale was associated with two health outcomes, self-reported diarrhoea (AOR 1.09, 95% CI 1.03 to 1.15, p=0.002) and perceived stress (β=0.28, SE=0.07, t =4.30, p<0.001), but not self-reported dengue fevermore »(AOR 1.02, 95% CI 0.98 to 1.06). A 3-item hygiene subscore and a 3-item water worry subscore were also both positively associated with self-reported diarrhoea and perceived stress. Conclusion Short-form screeners of water insecurity may be useful for assessing certain health risks by lay survey workers in settings with limited healthcare resources, particularly in lieu of more expensive microbiological tests that require specialised training and facilities.« less