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      Association between COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy and generalized trust, depression, generalized anxiety, and fear of COVID-19


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          Although numerous studies have been published on the predictors of COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy, some possible predictors remain underexplored. In this study, we explored the associations of unwillingness and indecisiveness regarding COVID-19 vaccination with generalized trust, mental health conditions such as depression and generalized anxiety, and fear of COVID-19.


          Data of wave 1 (from October 27 till November 6, 2020) and wave 3 (from April 23 till May 6, 2021) of a longitudinal online study conducted in Japan were used for the analyses. Unvaccinated participants were asked at wave 3 about their willingness to be vaccinated, with possible responses of willing, unwilling, or undecided. These three responses were used as the outcome variable, and multinomial logistic regression analyses were conducted with willingness to be vaccinated as the reference group. Explanatory variables included generalized trust, depression, generalized anxiety, and fear of COVID-19 both at wave 1 and 3, and sociodemographic and health-related variables.


          Of the 11,846 valid respondents, 209 (1.8%) answered that they had already been vaccinated against COVID-19, 7089 (59.8%) responded that they were willing to be vaccinated, 3498 (29.5%) responded that they were undecided, and 1053 (8.9%) responded that they were unwilling to be vaccinated. After adjusting for covariates, we found that: (1) participants with lower levels of generalized trust at wave 1 and 3 were more likely to be undecided or unwilling at wave 3; (2) respondents with moderately severe or severe depression at wave 1 and 3 were more likely to be undecided at wave 3; (3) participants with moderate or severe levels of generalized anxiety at wave 3 but not at wave 1 were more likely to be unwilling at wave 3; and (4) respondents with high levels of fear of COVID-19 at wave 1 and 3 were less likely to be undecided and unwilling at wave 3.


          Generalized trust, mental health conditions such as depression and generalized anxiety, and low level of fear of COVID-19 are associated with unwillingness or indecision regarding being vaccinated against COVID-19.

          Supplementary Information

          The online version contains supplementary material available at 10.1186/s12889-021-12479-w.

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          Most cited references74

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          A brief measure for assessing generalized anxiety disorder: the GAD-7.

          Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is one of the most common mental disorders; however, there is no brief clinical measure for assessing GAD. The objective of this study was to develop a brief self-report scale to identify probable cases of GAD and evaluate its reliability and validity. A criterion-standard study was performed in 15 primary care clinics in the United States from November 2004 through June 2005. Of a total of 2740 adult patients completing a study questionnaire, 965 patients had a telephone interview with a mental health professional within 1 week. For criterion and construct validity, GAD self-report scale diagnoses were compared with independent diagnoses made by mental health professionals; functional status measures; disability days; and health care use. A 7-item anxiety scale (GAD-7) had good reliability, as well as criterion, construct, factorial, and procedural validity. A cut point was identified that optimized sensitivity (89%) and specificity (82%). Increasing scores on the scale were strongly associated with multiple domains of functional impairment (all 6 Medical Outcomes Study Short-Form General Health Survey scales and disability days). Although GAD and depression symptoms frequently co-occurred, factor analysis confirmed them as distinct dimensions. Moreover, GAD and depression symptoms had differing but independent effects on functional impairment and disability. There was good agreement between self-report and interviewer-administered versions of the scale. The GAD-7 is a valid and efficient tool for screening for GAD and assessing its severity in clinical practice and research.
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            The PHQ-9: validity of a brief depression severity measure.

            While considerable attention has focused on improving the detection of depression, assessment of severity is also important in guiding treatment decisions. Therefore, we examined the validity of a brief, new measure of depression severity. The Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ) is a self-administered version of the PRIME-MD diagnostic instrument for common mental disorders. The PHQ-9 is the depression module, which scores each of the 9 DSM-IV criteria as "0" (not at all) to "3" (nearly every day). The PHQ-9 was completed by 6,000 patients in 8 primary care clinics and 7 obstetrics-gynecology clinics. Construct validity was assessed using the 20-item Short-Form General Health Survey, self-reported sick days and clinic visits, and symptom-related difficulty. Criterion validity was assessed against an independent structured mental health professional (MHP) interview in a sample of 580 patients. As PHQ-9 depression severity increased, there was a substantial decrease in functional status on all 6 SF-20 subscales. Also, symptom-related difficulty, sick days, and health care utilization increased. Using the MHP reinterview as the criterion standard, a PHQ-9 score > or =10 had a sensitivity of 88% and a specificity of 88% for major depression. PHQ-9 scores of 5, 10, 15, and 20 represented mild, moderate, moderately severe, and severe depression, respectively. Results were similar in the primary care and obstetrics-gynecology samples. In addition to making criteria-based diagnoses of depressive disorders, the PHQ-9 is also a reliable and valid measure of depression severity. These characteristics plus its brevity make the PHQ-9 a useful clinical and research tool.
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              The PHQ-9


                Author and article information

                BMC Public Health
                BMC Public Health
                BMC Public Health
                BioMed Central (London )
                18 January 2022
                18 January 2022
                : 22
                : 126
                [1 ]GRID grid.472046.3, ISNI 0000 0001 1230 0180, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry, ; Chiyoda-ku, Kasumigaseki 1-3-1, Tokyo, 100-8901 Japan
                [2 ]United Health Communication Co., Ltd., Chuo-ku, Nihonbashitomizawacho 10-16, Tokyo, 103-0006 Japan
                [3 ]Hiramatsu Memorial Hospital, Chuo-ku Minami 22-jo nishi 14-1-20, Sapporo-shi, Hokkaido 064-8536 Japan
                [4 ]GRID grid.411898.d, ISNI 0000 0001 0661 2073, Department of Laboratory Medicine, , The Jikei University School of Medicine, ; Minato-ku Nishishinbashi 3-25-8, Tokyo, 105-8461 Japan
                [5 ]GRID grid.417073.6, ISNI 0000 0004 0640 4858, Department of Psychiatry, , Tokyo Dental College Ichikawa General Hospital, ; Ichikawa-shi, Sugano 5-11-13, Chiba, 272-8513 Japan
                © The Author(s) 2022

                Open AccessThis article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated in a credit line to the data.

                : 21 July 2021
                : 22 December 2021
                Custom metadata
                © The Author(s) 2022

                Public health
                covid-19,vaccine hesitancy,generalized trust,depression,generalized anxiety,fear of covid-19


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