Factors affecting public responses to health messages during the COVID-19 pandemic in Australia: partisanship, values, and source credibility

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2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The COVID-19 crisis highlighted issues of trust in government and experts, as citizens were asked to accept restrictions on liberties in order to slow the spread of the virus. Based on a survey of 1992 Australians conducted in May 2020, this paper reports on the attitudes of Australians toward the responses of their State and Federal governments to the pandemic. Unsurprisingly, we found support for government responses differed with partisan alignment. However, when we controlled for values differences, we found that values predicted social distancing attitudes and behaviour. This oppugns the common conclusion in political psychology that party alignment is a proxy for values. Scientists were trusted more than political institutions or actors for accurate COVID-19 information, and likewise, traditional media were preferred to online sources. These findings have implications for policy communication when individual action is required to address collective goals.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)358-375
Number of pages18
JournalAustralian Journal of Political Science
Volume56
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2 Oct 2021

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