Effects of Individuals’ Cultural Orientations and Trust in Government Health Communication Sources on Behavioral Intentions During a Pandemic: A Cross-Country Study
Sung In Choi (PhD candidate), Sungsu Kim (PhD alum), Yan Jin, Chiara Valentini, Mark Badham, Elanor Colleoni, and Stefania Romenti (In press). “Effects of Individuals’ Cultural Orientations and Trust in Government Health Communication Sources on Behavioral Intentions During a Pandemic: A Cross-Country Study.” Health Communication.
Abstract: Public health messages disseminated by trusted government authorities are likely to have more influence over individuals’ intentions and behaviors. However, individuals worldwide have different levels of trust in government authorities, which leads to varying levels of compliance intentions. Additionally, these trust levels may vary during major public crises, such as pandemics. Based on a COVID-19 pandemic communication survey (N = 3,065) disseminated throughout six countries (Australia, Finland, Italy, South Korea, Sweden, and the United States), this study examined the association among trust in distinct government sources, cultural orientations, and health behavioral intentions. Findings indicated that trust in official health communication sources at four governmental levels (i.e., national government, the head of the national government, the national health authority, and the chief representative of the national health authority) was related to vaccination intentions and other behavioral compliance intentions (i.e., willingness to prevent COVID-19 infection in other ways). Meanwhile, these direct associations were mediated by the cultural orientations of power distance and uncertainty avoidance. Findings also revealed that the direct association of trust in government sources and the indirect relationship through the above cultural orientations varied by country. This study offers insight into the important role of credible sources and individuals’ cultural orientations in the domain of health communication aimed at influencing behavioral intentions.