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In Computers in human behavior ; h5-index 125.0

During the COVID-19 pandemic, vaccine hesitancy proved to be a major obstacle in efforts to control and mitigate the negative consequences of COVID-19. This study centered on the degree of polarization on social media about vaccine use and contributing factors to vaccine hesitancy among social media users. Examining the discussion about COVID-19 vaccine on the Weibo platform, a relatively comprehensive system of user features was constructed based on psychological theories and models such as the curiosity-drive theory and the big five model of personality. Then machine learning methods were used to explore the paramount impacting factors that led users into polarization. Findings revealed that factors reflecting the activity and effectiveness of social media use promoted user polarization. In contrast, features reflecting users' information processing ability and personal qualities had a negative impact on polarization. This study hopes to help healthcare organizations and governments understand and curb social media polarization around vaccine development in the face of future surges of pandemics.

Xie Lei, Wang Dandan, Ma Feicheng


Big five model of personality, COVID-19 pandemic, Curiosity-drive theory, User polarization, Vaccine hesitancy