Contextual Pathways Linking Cumulative Experiences of Racial Discrimination to Black American Men’s COVID Vaccine Hesitancy

Curtis, M.G., Whalen, C.C., Ivanka Pjesivac, & Kogan, S. M. (2022) “Contextual Pathways Linking Cumulative Experiences of Racial Discrimination to Black American Men’s COVID Vaccine Hesitancy.” Journal Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities. doi: 10.1007/s40615-022-01471-8

Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed and widened racialized health disparities, underscoring the impact of structural inequities and racial discrimination on COVID-19 vaccination uptake. A sizable proportion of Black American men report that they either do not plan to or are unsure about becoming vaccinated against COVID-19. The present study investigated hypotheses regarding the mechanisms by which experiences of racial discrimination are associated with Black American men’s COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy. Hypotheses were tested using structural equation modeling with 4 waves of data from 242 Black American men (aged ~ 27) living in resource-poor communities in the rural South. Study findings revealed that racial discrimination was indirectly associated with COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy via increased endorsement of COVID-19 conspiratorial beliefs. Findings also demonstrated that increased levels of ethnic identity strengthen the association between experiences of racial discrimination and COVID-19 conspiratorial beliefs. In contrast, increased levels of social support weakened the association between cumulative experiences of racial discrimination and COVID conspiratorial beliefs. Taken together, these results suggest that racial discrimination may promote conspiratorial beliefs which undermine Black American men’s willingness to be vaccinated. Future interventions aimed towards promoting vaccine uptake among Black American men may benefit from the inclusion of targeted efforts to rebuild cultural trust and increase social support