Gender Differences and the Five Facets of Conspiracy Theory

  •  Gary Popoli    
  •  Angel Longus    


Although research examining conspiracy theory beliefs has been examined, there is conflicting literature on the relationship between gender and conspiracy thinking. Before this study, little research has been conducted on the differences between males and females in each of the five facets of conspiracy theory. This study was designed to investigate differences in gender as they pertain to government malfeasance (GM), malevolent global conspiracies (MG), extraterrestrial cover-up (ET), personal well-being (PW), and control of information (CI). It was hypothesized that there are statistically significant differences between females and males when it comes to conspiracy theory beliefs for each of the five facets. Archival data from 2016 containing responses to the Generic Conspiracist Beliefs Scale was analyzed. Results supported the main hypothesis of this investigation that significant differences do, in fact, exist between females and males in all five facets of conspiracy theory: government malfeasance, malevolent global conspiracies, extraterrestrial cover-up, personal well-being, and control of information. In addition, this study revealed that females score higher than males in all facets. In general, a computed total conspiracy belief score demonstrated that females (M = 45.10, SD = 15.07) were significantly higher than males (M = 42.13, SD = 15.90). Nevertheless, some recent research has reported that women were significantly less likely than men to engage in ‘conspiratorial thinking’ and endorse a conspiracy about the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020. These findings may be suggesting a change in direction for gender differences and a need for further research. 

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