Skip to main content
Kent Academic Repository

Does belief in conspiracy theories affect interpersonal relationships?

Toribio-Flórez, Daniel, Green, Ricky, Sutton, Robbie M., Douglas, Karen (2023) Does belief in conspiracy theories affect interpersonal relationships? The Spanish Journal of Psychology, 26 . Article Number e9. ISSN 1138-7416. E-ISSN 1988-2904. (doi:10.1017/SJP.2023.8) (KAR id:100146)


In recent years, researchers have begun to study the social consequences of conspiracy beliefs. However, little research has investigated the impact of conspiracy beliefs on interpersonal relationships. In this review, we draw attention to this issue by summarizing available empirical evidence and proposing potential social-psychological mechanisms to explain whether and why conspiracy theories affect interpersonal relationships. We firstly discuss that the attitude change that often accompanies the internalization of conspiracy beliefs might distance people’s opinions and, consequently, erode their relationships. Furthermore, we argue that the stigmatizing value of conspiracy theories can negatively affect the evaluation of conspiracy believers and discourage others from getting close to them. Finally, we consider that the misperception of social norms associated with the acceptance of certain conspiracy narratives can lead conspiracy believers to engage in non-normative behavior. Others are likely to perceive such behavior negatively, resulting in diminished interpersonal interaction. We highlight the need for further research to address these issues, as well as the potential factors that may prevent relationships being eroded by conspiracy beliefs.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1017/SJP.2023.8
Uncontrolled keywords: attitudes; conspiracy beliefs; conspiracy theories; interpersonal relationships; social norms
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
H Social Sciences
J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Psychology
Funders: European Research Council (
Depositing User: Daniel Toribio Florez
Date Deposited: 20 Feb 2023 11:17 UTC
Last Modified: 09 Jan 2024 01:29 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

  • Depositors only (login required):

Total unique views for this document in KAR since July 2020. For more details click on the image.