Study: Defiance, Low Trust in Medical Doctors Related to Vaccine Skepticism

Negative feelings toward vaccines may be caused by the recommendations given by authorities or social pressure in society to get vaccinated, according to a study.

A new study from researchers at the University of Turku, Abo Akademi University, and University of Bristol, found that people who tend to react negatively to rules and recommendations have lower trust in medical doctors and a more negative attitude toward vaccines, which may cause them to reject vaccines for themselves or their children.

The defiance in people acting negatively toward vaccines may stem from the vaccine recommendations given by authorities or social pressure in society to get vaccinated, according to the study.

The study authors also found that defiance and lower trust in physicians correlated to a higher likelihood to use complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), or treatments and substances that are not included in evidence-based medicine. These treatments have not been clearly demonstrated through established scientific methods.

A list of CAM products was presented to 770 parents of young children, from which they were asked to select the products they had using during the past 12 months to treat an illness or to maintain good health. Further, approximately 40% of the parents reported using 1 or more CAM products.

The results showed that half of the parents reported taking the flu vaccine during the preceding season. Although approximately 75% of the parents had accepted the childhood vaccines for their children without hesitation, approximately 7% had refused to take a vaccine for their child at least once.

However, 9 out of 10 parents partly or completely trusted the physician’s ability to make correct diagnoses and that physicians have their patients’ best interest in mind when making health-related decisions, according to the study.


Defiance and low trust in medical doctors related to vaccine skepticism. University of Turku. Published August 20, 2020. Accessed August 25, 2020.

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