‘Like watching them drown’: When loved ones go down the vaccine rabbit hole

11 November 2021

Professor Jolanda Jetten from UQ's School of Psychology spoke with Brisbane Times about research into the psychology of those susceptible to anti-vaccine and conspiracy messaging.

She said more empathy is warranted from the wider community to better address people’s fears and make it easier for families to seek help.

“We need to be careful about ridiculing people,” Professor Jetten says.

“For me, it’s very clear you only enhance that ‘us versus them’ mentality.”

“There are good reasons why our trust has declined in official advice. What we’ve seen is that when everything in the world seems like it’s really unravelling... when people feel that things are getting out of control- conspiracies are basically explanations for why something happens.”

“It’s also social media where the idea that if I feel alienated from mainstream society and I can go online and very quickly find a group who think like me - and that’s very reassuring.”

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