Americans’ Trust in COVID-19 Information from Governmental Sources in the Trump Era: Individuals’ Adoption of Preventive Measures, and Health Implications

Hongmei Li, Baojiang Chen, Zhuo Chen, Lu Shi, Dejun Su

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This study analyzes differences among Americans in their trust in COVID-19 information from governmental sources and how trust is associated with personal adoption of preventative measures under the Trump administration. Based on our analysis of data from a nationally representative survey conducted in October 2020 (effective sample size after weighting = 2615), we find that Americans in general have more trust in COVID-19 information from state/local governments than from the federal government. Variables such as age, party affiliation, religiosity, and race are significantly associated with Americans’ trust or lack of trust in COVID-19 information from governmental sources. During the study period, Republicans had more trust in the federal government as a COVID-19 information source than Democrats did, while Democrats had more trust in state/local governments. African Americans had the least trust in the federal and state/local governments as COVID-19 information sources, while Asian Americans had the most trust in both institutions. Trust in the state/local governments as COVID-19 information sources was positively associated with physical distancing and mask-wearing while trust in the federal government as a COVID-19 information source was negatively associated with physical distancing and mask-wearing, suggesting the distinctive roles that state/local governments and the federal government played in mobilizing Americans to adopt preventive measures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalHealth Communication
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Communication

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