Publication date: Sep 20, 2023
Several studies on the predisposition to be subjected to vaccination have shown that vaccine hesitation is a global phenomenon influenced by a lack of knowledge and awareness, as well as perceived risks and benefits. The purpose of this study was to investigate the mediating role of right-wing authoritarianism in the relationship between magical thinking and positive attitudes toward COVID-19 vaccines (i. e. trust of vaccine benefits, worries over unforeseen future effects, concerns about commercial profits, preference for natural immunity). The sample consisted of 201 Italian young adults, 49 males (24. 4%), and 152 females (75. 6%), aged between 18 and 25. Data were collected during 2022. The results confirmed the role of right-wing authoritarianism as a mediator for magical thinking on positive vaccine attitudes. Findings indicated a positive association between right-wing authoritarianism and magical thinking and a negative relationship of both the aforementioned variables on positive vaccine attitudes. SEM analyses showed a direct positive association from magical thinking to right-wing authoritarianism and a direct negative association from right-wing authoritarianism to trust of vaccine benefits, to low worries over unforeseen future effects, to lack of concerns about commercial profits and to low preference for natural immunity. The findings highlight that common contribution of odd or magical beliefs and right-wing authoritarianism may slow the spread of vaccines among late adolescents and young adults. Our findings provide insight on what effective communication with vaccine-resistant individuals should look like in order to increase the chances of reaching vaccine-hesitant individuals.