Mitigating and managing COVID-19 conspiratorial beliefs

Benjamin J. Dow*, Cynthia S. Wang, Jennifer A. Whitson, Yingli Deng

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background/Aim Belief in COVID-19 related conspiracy theories is a widespread and consequential problem that healthcare leaders need to confront. In this article, we draw on insights from social psychology and organisational behaviour to offer evidence-based advice that healthcare leaders can use to reduce the spread of conspiratorial beliefs and ameliorate their negative effects, both during the current pandemic and beyond. Conclusion Leaders can effectively combat conspiratorial beliefs by intervening early and bolstering people's sense of control. Leaders can also address some of the problematic behaviours that result from conspiratorial beliefs by introducing incentives and mandates (e.g., vaccine mandates). However, because of the limitations of incentives and mandates, we suggest that leaders complement these techniques with interventions that leverage the power of social norms and increase people's connections to others.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)259-262
Number of pages4
JournalBMJ Leader
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1 2022


  • COVID-19
  • management
  • medical leadership

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy
  • Leadership and Management
  • Strategy and Management


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