U.S.-based research suggests conservatism is linked with less concern about contracting coronavirus and less preventative behaviors to avoid infection. Here, we investigate whether these tendencies are partly attributable to distrust in scientific information, and evaluate whether they generalize outside the U.S., using public data and recruited representative samples across three studies (Ntotal = 34,710). In Studies 1 and 2, we examine these relationships in the U.S., yielding converging evidence for a sequential indirect effect of conservatism on compliance through scientific (dis)trust and infection concern. In Study 3, we compare these relationships across 19 distinct countries. Although the relationships between trust in scientific information about the coronavirus, concern about coronavirus infection, and compliance are consistent cross-nationally, the relationships between conservatism and trust in scientific information are not. These relationships are strongest in North America. Consequently, the indirect effects observed in Studies 1–2 only replicate in North America (the U.S. and Canada) and in Indonesia. Study 3 also found parallel direct and indirect effects on support for lockdown restrictions. These associations suggest not only that relationships between conservatism and compliance are not universal, but localized to particular countries where conservatism is more strongly related to trust in scientific information about the coronavirus pandemic.
© 2022, The Author(s).