Skip to main content

Religious affiliation and philosophical and moral beliefs about vaccines: A longitudinal study

Cover of the Journal of Health Psychology.How do religious affiliation and beliefs shape vaccine attitudes and behaviors? This study examined the associations of attitudes and behaviors relevant to the flu, measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), and human-papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines with religious affiliations, as well as philosophical, spiritual, and moral beliefs. Respondents were 3005 adults from a probability-based, four-wave panel survey in the United States. Longitudinal structural equation modeling examined how religious affiliations and philosophical/moral beliefs shaped attitudes toward vaccines and actual vaccination. Stronger philosophical beliefs predicted more negative attitudes toward each vaccine and stronger moral beliefs more negative attitudes toward the HPV vaccine. Negative vaccine attitudes then predicted weaker intentions to encourage others to vaccinate and lower probability of receiving a vaccine. Theoretical and public health messaging implications are discussed.