UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Belief in Science and Beliefs about COVID-19 : Educational Gradients Qian, Yue; Xie, Yu; Jin, Yongai


Prior research has attributed the socio-economic disparity in COVID-19 infections to differences in degrees of exposure or economic resources. This study proposes beliefs about COVID-19 as a potential additional explanation. We conducted a nationally representative US survey with six measures of COVID-19 beliefs. Socio-economic status was measured through educational level. Compared with less-educated respondents, highly educated respondents treat COVID-19 more seriously, including believing in (1) face mask use, (2) asymptomatic transmission, (3) media non-exaggeration, (4) the necessity of stay-at-home orders, (5) a likelihood of themselves being infected with COVID-19 and (6) no protection of God against COVID-19. The educational gradient in COVID-19 beliefs was largely explained by differential levels of belief in science across education. Our findings suggest that encouraging public trust in science can potentially reduce the educational gradient in COVID-19 infections in the USA.

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