Top marks: How the media got Swedes to vaccinate against swine flu

Marina Ghersetti, Thomas A. Odén

Abstract


Based on Bourdieu’s theory of social capital, this article analyses Swedes’ willingness to vaccinate during the swine flu outbreak in autumn 2009. The analysis is based partly on responses to a survey of 3,000 Swedes that was conducted when the virus was spreading, and partly on a comprehensive content analysis of the largest Swedish news media’s coverage of swine flu.
The starting point is a model where people’s vaccination willingness is analysed against the background of their social capital, media consumption, perceived concern about catching the virus, and trust in how the authorities were handling the influenza virus.
The results show that social capital in terms of class affiliation, education and profession in covariance with media consumption impacted both the perception of concern and trust in the authorities, and that, in this case, trust in the authorities had greater significance for the rate of vaccination than the perception of concern.

Keywords


Swine flu, trust, social capital, journalism, news, media, media effects, survey investigation, content analysis

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.15847/obsOBS522011465