La Trobe

File(s) under embargo

4

month(s)

18

day(s)

until file(s) become available

The antidepressant hoax: conspiracy theories decrease health-seeking intentions

journal contribution
posted on 17.03.2021, 04:41 by Eleanor NatoliEleanor Natoli, Mathew MarquesMathew Marques
© 2020 The British Psychological Society Health-related conspiracy theories can undermine the trustworthiness of actors and institutions and may impact an individual’s intention to seek help. Across three experimental studies, we investigated the consequences of exposure to an antidepressant conspiracy theory on general intentions to seek medical and psychological help. Study 1 participants (N = 299) were randomly allocated to read one of three articles (pro-conspiracy, anti-conspiracy, control) after which they completed measures of conspiracy endorsement, trust, powerlessness, and health-seeking intentions. Results suggested that exposure to antidepressant conspiracy theories significantly reduced individual’s intention to seek help indirectly through decreased trust in health authorities, but not health-industry-related powerlessness. In two additional pre-registered studies, we found some support for these findings. While Study 2 (N = 244) found no support for a direct or indirect relationship between conspiracy exposure and health-seeking intentions, an exploratory analysis highlighted the importance of gender differences when investigating conspiracy exposure on intentions. Study 3 (N = 247) replicated Study 1 findings, highlighting that antidepressant conspiracy theories decrease health-seeking intentions indirectly through decreased trust and increased powerlessness. Mere exposure to antidepressant conspiracy theories had significant indirect consequences on general health-seeking intentions.

History

Publication Date

01/01/2020

Journal

British Journal of Social Psychology

Article Number

bjso.12426

Pagination

22p. (p. 1-22)

Publisher

Wiley

ISSN

0144-6665

Rights Statement

The Authors reserves all moral rights over the deposited text and must be credited if any re-use occurs. Documents deposited in OPAL are the Open Access versions of outputs published elsewhere. Changes resulting from the publishing process may therefore not be reflected in this document. The final published version may be obtained via the publisher’s DOI. Please note that additional copyright and access restrictions may apply to the published version.