Vaccination hesitancy: fear, trust, and exposure expectancy of an Ebola outbreak

Gustavo S. Mesch, Kent P. Schwirian

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    The purpose of this paper is to examine the relationship between vaccination hesitancy and fear, trust, and expectation of a potential imminent and proximate outbreak of Ebola. Our hypothesis is that people engage in self-protective behavior against an infectious disease when they are: fearful about things in general; trustful of government's ability to control the disease outbreak; and anticipating a direct threat to their health. The self-protective behavior we examine is the intention to accept a prospective anti-Ebola vaccination. We examine these relationships with basic demographic variables taken into account: gender, age, ethnicity, race and education. The data source is a national random sample of 1,018 United States adults interviewed early during the 2014 Ebola outbreak. We constructed a new three-item Exposure Expectancy Scale (alpha = 0. 635) to measure the degree of respondents' expectancy of a potential nearby Ebola outbreak. Our data analysis employs multiple logistic regressions. The findings support our hypothesis: willingness to take the Ebola vaccination is positively associated with a generalized sense of fear, trust in the government's ability to control an outbreak of the disease, and expectation of a potential Ebola outbreak that is imminent and proximate. The addition of the exposure expectancy variable in this analysis adds significantly to our understanding of contributors to vaccine hesitancy.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article numbere02016
    Issue number7
    StatePublished - Jul 2019

    Bibliographical note

    Publisher Copyright:
    © 2019 The Authors


    • Expectancy
    • Exposure expectancy scale
    • Fear
    • Psychology
    • Public health
    • Sociology
    • Trust
    • Vaccination hesitancy

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • General


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