Healthy skepticism: Do adults trust health information from children in rural Kenya?
Despite the frequent use of schools and schoolchildren to disseminate information to wider communities in sub-Saharan Africa, little research has been done examining whether children are seen as trustworthy sources of information. Participants (67 women and 66 men aged 19–77 years living in coastal Kenya) listened to different claims made by an adult informant and a child informant in a video scenario. The competing claims pertained to both health and nonhealth dilemmas. One claim was consistent with traditional practices, whereas the other was consistent with modern, school-based knowledge. We asked respondents the extent to which they would endorse the adult’s claim rather than the child’s and the traditional claim rather than the modern claim. Surprisingly, no preference was seen for adult advice over children’s advice. Modern claims were endorsed over traditional claims in the domain of health and particularly among more educated adults. Children’s advice was trusted less by participants who favored a high level of adult authority over children rather than a more egalitarian relationship. This study shows that children can convey credible messages to adults in Kenya and that adults who are educated and value more equal relationships with children are more receptive to the messages. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)