The “Anti-Vax” Movement: A Quantitative Report on Vaccine Beliefs and Knowledge across Social Media
- Benoit, Staci L
AbstractThis cross sectional research explored the relationship between the spread of information regarding vaccines and social media use. A sample of 2515 people over the age of 18 around the world completed the survey via a link found on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. A series of questions on vaccine knowledge and beliefs were compounded to create an individual's "knowledge score" and a "belief score". Knowledge scores were ranked from low knowledge to high knowledge with increasing scores. Belief scores were ranked from belief in myths to disbelief in myths with higher scores. This score was then analysed, using a Welch test and post hoc testing when applicable, across demographics and questions relating to social media use.
WeightingAll data analysis was conducted using IBM’s SPSS. Significance testing was performed using the Welch test. This test was chosen based on the negatively skewed data distribution with non-homogeneity of variances and sample sizes (Fagerland and Sandvik, 2009). The Welch test has historically been shown to better control Type 1 error for these parameters compared to other tests (Tomarken and Serlin, 1986). Post hoc analysis was completed with Games Howell due to its robustness and utility in non-normal distributions (Hilton and Armstrong, 2006).
MethodsPresence of Common Scales: The first half of the survey consisted of demographics and questions pertaining to use of social media and its relation to vaccine information. The latter half of the survey had six questions relating to vaccine knowledge and six questions relating to vaccine myths. The six vaccine knowledge questions were scored on a two point scale. Questions were scored by awarding two points for the answer of belief in the vaccine statement, one point for uncertainty, and zero points for the answer of disbelief in the statement. All questions were then totaled for a score on a 12 point scale. Higher values suggesting adequate vaccine knowledge and lower values suggesting inadequate vaccine knowledge. This score could then be appropriately analyzed. The six vaccine belief questions were scored on a two point scale. Two points were given for the answer choice “disbelief in the vaccine statement”, one point for uncertainty, and zero points for the answer of belief in the statement. All questions were then totaled for a score on a twelve-point scale. Higher values of disbelief in common myths, whereas lower values indicated a belief in common myths. This score could then be appropriately analyzed.
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Update Metadata: 2020-12-08 | Issue Number: 1 | Registration Date: 2020-12-08