Title

Reducing mask resistance among white evangelical christians with value-consistent messages

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

5-25-2021

Keywords

Evangelicals, Mask use, Partisanship, Public opinion, Trump

Abstract

Public health experts have advocated for wearing protective face masks to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, yet some populations are resistant. Can certain messages shift attitudes toward masks? We investigate the effect of value-consistent messages within a mask-skeptical population: White evangelicals in the United States. An experiment within a national survey of White evangelicals (n = 1,212) assigned respondents to one of three conditions: One group was given a religious message equating mask use with loving your neighbor, another was given a message by Donald Trump saying mask use is patriotic, and a control group received no message. Those exposed to the religious message were more likely to see mask use as important and were more supportive of mask mandates. Republican evangelicals exposed to the patriotism message had similar responses. These findings show that messages that align with individuals’ core values—in this case, religious tenets and patriotism—can shift certain views on mask use and government mask policies to combat COVID-19, even among a comparatively mask-resistant group.

Publication Title

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

ISSN

00278424

E-ISSN

10916490

Volume

118

Issue

21

DOI

10.1073/pnas.2101723118

PubMed ID

33975906

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