Undergraduate Honors Thesis Projects

Date of Award

Spring 3-30-2022

Document Type

Honors Paper

Degree Name



Sociology, Criminology and Justice Studies


Dr. Heidi Ballard

First Committee Member

Dr. Meredith Frey

Second Committee Member

Dr. Louise Captein


COVID-19, Misinformation, Science Denial, Heath Behavior Model, Theory of Planned Behavior

Subject Categories

Higher Education | Social and Behavioral Sciences | Sociology


In December of 2019 the first known case of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) was identified in Wuhan, China. One month later the virus had made its way to the United States and changed our daily lives forever. Mask mandates, social distancing, stay-at-home orders, and vaccinations have all been measures to help contain the spread of this deadly disease, but many people choose not to engage in these protocols not believing their effectiveness and mistrusting the science that went into making them. In this study a survey was administered to 98 participants online who were asked seven demographic questions and then shown 12 different statements about COVID-19. Respondents then rated how much they agreed with each statement using a Likert scale. Results show the participants affiliated with the Republican Party had a higher degree of distrust than the Democratic Party. Political party is a strong predictor to how much a person will agree or disagree with the science of COVID-19 and whether they will participate in public health precautions to prevent this deadly disease. The theories of T.S Kuhn and Helen Longino as well as the public health theories of health behavior model and the theory of planned behavior help answer the question of why society mistrusts the science of COVID-19.

Licensing Permission

Copyright, all rights reserved. Fair Use