Psychological Science Faculty Publications and Presentations

Document Type


Publication Date



The unparalleled speed of COVID-19 vaccine development has necessitated an expansion of existing knowledge on vaccination decision-making. The current study explored (1) how cognitions and emotions shaped college students’ COVID-19 vaccination decisions, and (2) where vaccination-inclined and vaccination-hesitant students converged and diverged in their decision-making process. Seventy-seven students participated in 26 focus groups to discuss their complex thoughts and feelings regarding COVID-19 vaccination, offering a more nuanced understanding of COVID-19 vaccination decision-making that has not been fully captured by quantitative studies. Thematic analysis found that vaccination-inclined participants and their hesitant counterparts reported differential patterns of positive and negative emotions, systematic appraisals, and heuristics in decision-making. Future research should investigate the roles of hope and relief, non-health-related benefits of vaccination, social trust, and interpersonal influence in vaccination decision-making.


© The Author(s) 2023

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License

Publication Title

Health Psychology Open


Included in

Psychology Commons



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.