Disgust as an emotional driver of vaccine attitudes and uptake? A mediation analysis

P. M. Luz, H. E. Brown, C. J. Struchiner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Research on the drivers of vaccine acceptance has expanded but most interventions fall short of coverage targets. We explored whether vaccine uptake is driven directly or indirectly by disgust with attitudes towards vaccines acting as a possible mediator. An online cross-sectional study of 1007 adults of the USA via Amazon’s Mechanical Turk was conducted in January 2017. The questionnaire consisted of four sections: (1) items assessing attitudes towards vaccines and vaccine uptake, (2) revised Disgust Scale (DS-R) to measure Disgust Sensitivity, (3) Perceived Vulnerability to Disease scale (PVD) to measure Germ Aversion and Perceived Susceptibility, and (4) socio-demographic information. Using mediation analysis, we assess the direct, the indirect (through Vaccine Attitudes) and the total effect of Disgust Sensitivity, Germ Aversion and Perceived Susceptibility on 2016 self-reported flu vaccine uptake. Mediation analysis showed the effect of Disgust Sensitivity and Germ Aversion on vaccine uptake to be twofold: a direct positive effect on vaccine uptake and an indirect negative effect through Vaccine Attitudes. In contrast, Perceived Susceptibility was found to have only a direct positive effect on vaccine uptake. Nonetheless, these effects were attenuated and small compared to economic, logistic and psychological determinants of vaccine uptake.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere182
JournalEpidemiology and infection
StatePublished - 2019


  • Barriers
  • Disgust
  • Influenza
  • Susceptibility
  • Vaccine attitudes
  • Vaccine uptake

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Infectious Diseases


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