What Is the Flag We Rally Around? Trust in Information Sources at the Outset of the COVID-19 Pandemic in Latvia

Anda Rožukalne, Vineta Kleinberga (Coresponding Author), Alise Tīfentāle, Ieva Strode

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Trust in information sources about COVID-19 may influence the public attitude toward the disease and the imposed restrictions, thus determining the course of the COVID-19 pandemic in a given country. Acknowledging an increase in trust in the government or the so-called rally ‘round the flag’ effect around the world at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, this study explores possible determinants of this effect in Latvia, looking at such variables as the perceived disease risk, gender, age, education, income, and language spoken in the family. Presuming that risk perception may be amplified by trust in various information sources, we investigate a spill-over of the rally ‘round the flag’ effect on healthcare professionals, media, and interpersonal networks. Studying data from a nationally representative sociological survey conducted in September 2020, we confirm a positive relationship between trust in all information sources, except friends, relatives, and colleagues, and perceived disease risk. Correlations are also strong regarding trust in almost all information sources and the measured socio-demographic variables, except gender. Interpersonal trust seems to be relatively stable, and in most cases the correlations are statistically insignificant. With this study we suggest that increase in trust in government institutions as well as other information sources, even in crisis situations, does not depend on any single element, but instead presents a more complex phenomenon.

Original languageEnglish
Article number123
JournalSocial Sciences
Volume11
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 11 Mar 2022

Keywords*

  • COVID-19
  • rally round the flag effect
  • trust in government
  • trust in media
  • trust in healthcare professionals
  • interpersonal trust

Field of Science*

  • 5.8 Media and Communication

Publication Type*

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

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