FRIDAY, Aug. 4, 2023 (HealthDay News) -- When studying which personality types were more likely to resist getting vaccines, researchers got a surprise.
It was the extroverts who were more vaccine resistant. Compared to other personality styles, extroverts were 18% more likely to refuse the COVID-19 vaccine, the new study finds.
“We expected that people who were especially high in extroversion would be more likely to get the vaccine,” said lead author Melissa Baker, an assistant professor at the University of Texas at El Paso. “We figured those people would want to get back out in the world and socialize, right? It’s actually the opposite,” she added in a university news release.
The researchers hope their findings may help with future public health messaging and vaccination campaigns.
“We wanted to look at vaccine hesitancy a different way,” Baker said. “Of course, politics can help explain some of it, but there are personal differences between people, too — and that led us to this personality aspect.”
Joining with a researcher from the University of Toronto, the study team used surveys of more than 40,000 Canadian adults, taken between November 2020 and July 2021.
Questions evaluated each participant’s personality, based on a model known as “big five.” This gauges someone’s openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness and emotional stability.
Other questions were focused on vaccination, including, “When a COVID-19 vaccine becomes available, will you be vaccinated?” Questions evolved as vaccines became more available.
The team had hypothesized that people who were more open and agreeable were more likely to get the vaccine, which proved to be true.
“Those are the kind of people who are open to new things, new information and just like to go with the flow,” Baker said. “We also expected that for people with high conscientiousness because they are detail-oriented and big planners.”
But along with extroverts, those with low emotional stability, experiencing extreme emotions, were less likely to be vaccinated.
“If we know you need to reach a certain type of personality, we can think about the message that will actually reach and persuade that person,” Baker said.
The study findings were recently published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on COVID-19 vaccines.
SOURCE: University of Texas at El Paso, news release, Aug. 2, 2023