I dream of socializing, sports, and serenity: Imagining a positive future-vaccinated self is associated with better attitudes toward COVID-19 vaccination

Genavee Brown*, Anne-Laure de Place

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, governments are attempting to vaccinate a large proportion of their adult population against the virus. While many people hurried to receive the vaccine, vaccination rates then started stagnating and governments are searching for solutions to motivate remaining citizens to receive the vaccine. Previous studies show that imagining oneself in the future can motivate health prevention behaviors, but our study is the first to use a future selves paradigm to study vaccination motivators. In two mixed methods studies we examine the effects of imagining of a future vaccinated selves (FVS) on vaccine attitudes, where participants were asked to think about what their life would be like once they had received the COVID-19 vaccine. In study 1 (n = 114), we coded the most important categories of FVS. Several FVS were identified and related to increased social and leisure activities, reduced negative emotion and societal constraints, possible side effects of the vaccine, and societal changes. In study 2 (n = 113), we used a 2x2 design in which participants' reflections on their FVS were guided or open and visualized from a first or third person perspective. The guided condition produced greater acceptance of the vaccine, and the first person perspective produced greater behavioral intentions to be vaccinated. We discuss the effectiveness of future selves interventions for promoting vaccination in different societal contexts.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Applied Social Psychology
Early online date27 Jul 2022
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 27 Jul 2022

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