Characterisation of a conspiracy believers and their mental health during the COVID-19 emergency state in Latvia

Baiba Rezgale, Jelena Vrublevska, Anna Sibalova, Ilana Germanenko, Elmars Rancans

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: A wave of believers in conspiracies has emerged amid the COVID-19 crisis. The purpose of this study was to characterise an individual who believes in conspiracies and to discover whether believing in them is associated with mental health. Methods: Data was collected as an online survey in a randomised, stratified cohort in July 2020 as a part of the National Research Program of Latvia. The precisely selected and segmented database corresponding to the general population of Latvia was used. Non-parametric tests to compare medians and Spearman correlation to measure the strength of the relationship were applied. Results: The weighted study sample consisted of 2608 participants. A positive correlation was detected between age and belief in conspiracies among females (r = 0.061; p = 0.017). Median conspiracy theory points were significant as follows: individuals who have primary or high school education (p < 0.001) rather than higher education; females (p < 0.001) who resided in a town (p < 0.001) as opposed to occupying the capital; divorcees (p = 0.022) in contrast with those being in a relationship; along with those being unemployed (p < 0.001) compared to the employed, or students. Depressed respondents more often than healthy individuals believed that COVID-19 was created in a laboratory (p < 0.05), that this virus is a result of a 5G antenna (p < 0.05) and that it is a sign of divine power to destroy our planet (p = 0.001). Conclusion: The important messages conveyed to the public should be reviewed so that they are more relatable and comprehensible. Furthermore, additional attention should be paid to critical thinking in education programs.

Original languageEnglish
JournalNordic Journal Of Psychiatry
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2022

Field of Science*

  • 3.2 Clinical medicine

Publication Type*

  • 1.1. Scientific article indexed in Web of Science and/or Scopus database


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