Researchers from the University of Kent claim that people who believe in conspiracy theories were more likely to have grown up with a lack of positive parenting
Scientists have come to the conclusion that a lack of positive parenting can cause children to grow into adults who hold strange worldviews and political attitudes.
New research claims that people who have had a bad childhood develop an ‘anxious attachment style’ and are more likely to believe that the moon landings were fake or that 9/11 was an inside job.
The Mail Online reports: In two studies, Ricky Green and Professor Karen Douglas, of the University of Kent’s School of Psychology, found these people were more likely to have absent parents at the start of their life
In the first study researchers looked at 246 participants.
They found ‘participants higher in anxious attachment style showed a greater tendency to believe in conspiracy theories’, researchers, led by Dr Green and Dr Douglas, wrote in their paper published in Personality and Individual Differences.
‘Further, this relationship remained significant when accounting for other known predictors of conspiracy belief’, researchers wrote.
Other variables such as right-wing authoritarianism, interpersonal trust and demographic factors also made someone more likely to believe in conspiracy theories.
However, these were less significant than the effect of an unhappy childhood.
In the second study researchers looked at 230 individuals and found people with anxious attachment styles were more likely to believe in specific conspiracy theories and conspiracy theories about groups.
‘The current studies add to the body of research investigating the individual differences predictors of conspiracy belief, demonstrating that conspiracy belief may, to some degree, have roots in early childhood experiences’, researchers wrote.
Previous research has suggested conspiracy theories are believed by people who have lost an election or influence.
According to Joseph Uscinski, author of ‘American Conspiracy Theories,‘ people who have lost something look to conspiracy theories to ‘explain that loss.’
Speaking to Time Magazine, Uscinksi said this can be observed by the popularity of certain conspiracy theories when the presidency changes.
For example, when President George W. Bush was in power with Dick Cheney as his Vice President, there were theories that the Blackwater protection company masterminding the Iraq war to obtain oil.
And when President Obama was elected to office, a conspiracy surrounding his birth place emerged.
Some people believe that President Obama was born in Kenya, and not Hawaii – despite President Obama releasing his birth certificate proving he was indeed born in Hawaii.
Aside from people who are out of power tending to believe in conspiracy theories, certain demographic factors can be linked to these beliefs.
For example, a study published in March found that being unmarried, belonging to a particular ethnic minority (for example African American or Hispanic) and low religious attendance were all associated with a belief in conspiracy.
In addition, people with lower household incomes averaging at $47,193 (£34,300) were more likely to believe in conspiracy theories than those who had higher household incomes of $63,824 (£46,300).
Another possible reason for why people believe in conspiracy theories is that it makes them feel ‘special.’