Advertisement

Health care workers—part of the system or part of the public? Ambivalent risk perception in health care workers

      Background

      The emergence of the avian influenza A (H7N9) in China during 2013 illustrates the importance of health care professionals as a mediating channel between health agencies and the public. Our study examined health care professionals' risk perceptions considering their unique position as representing the health care system and yet also being part of the public, hence a risk group. Recent studies have examined the role of health professionals' personal risk perceptions and attitudes regarding compliance of the general public with vaccination. Our study examined how risk perception affects their risk analysis.

      Methods

      We employed an online survey of Israeli health care professionals and the general public in Israel (N = 240).

      Results

      When risk perception is relatively low, health care professionals tend to base their attitudes toward vaccines on analytical knowledge (Rc = 0.315; P < .05), whereas in situations with high risk perception, the results did not indicate any significant difference between Israeli health professionals and the Israeli general public, hence both groups base their attitudes more on emotions and personal experience than on analytical knowledge.

      Conclusions

      Public health organizations must consider the fact that health professionals are a group that cannot be automatically treated as an extension of the organization. When the risk is tangible and relevant, health care workers behave and act like everybody else. Our study contributes to understanding health care professionals' perceptions about vaccines and the thinking processes underlying such perceptions.

      Key Words

      To read this article in full you will need to make a payment

      Purchase one-time access:

      Academic & Personal: 24 hour online accessCorporate R&D Professionals: 24 hour online access
      One-time access price info
      • For academic or personal research use, select 'Academic and Personal'
      • For corporate R&D use, select 'Corporate R&D Professionals'

      Subscribe:

      Subscribe to American Journal of Infection Control
      Already a print subscriber? Claim online access
      Already an online subscriber? Sign in
      Institutional Access: Sign in to ScienceDirect

      References

        • Chen Y.
        • Liang W.
        • Yang S.
        • Wu N.
        • Gao H.
        • Sheng J.
        • et al.
        Human infections with the emerging avian influenza A H7N9 virus from wet market poultry: clinical analysis and characterisation of viral genome.
        Lancet. 2013; 381: 1916-1925
        • Uyeki T.M.
        • Cox N.J.
        Global concerns regarding novel influenza A (H7N9) virus infections.
        N Engl J Med. 2013; 368: 1862-1864
        • Slovic P.
        • Finucane M.L.
        • Peters E.
        • MacGregor D.G.
        Risk as analysis and risk as feelings: some thoughts about affect, reason, risk, and rationality.
        Risk Anal. 2004; 24: 311-322
        • Goodwin R.
        • Sun S.
        Public perceptions and reactions to H7N9 in Mainland China.
        J Infect. 2013; 67: 458-462
        • Allen Catellier J.R.
        • Yang Z.J.
        Trust and affect: how do they impact risk information seeking in a health context?.
        J Risk Res. 2012; 15: 897-911
        • Walter D.
        • Bohmer M.
        • Reiter S.
        • Krause G.
        • Wichmann O.
        Risk perception and information-seeking behaviour during the 2009/10 influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 pandemic in Germany.
        Euro Surveill. 2012; 17
        • Bults M.
        • Beaujean D.J.
        • de Zwart O.
        • Kok G.
        • van Empelen P.
        • van Steenbergen J.E.
        • et al.
        Perceived risk, anxiety, and behavioural responses of the general public during the early phase of the Influenza A (H1N1) pandemic in the Netherlands: results of three consecutive online surveys.
        BMC Public Health. 2011; 11: 2
        • Poland G.A.
        The 2009-2010 influenza pandemic: effects on pandemic and seasonal vaccine uptake and lessons learned for seasonal vaccination campaigns.
        Vaccine. 2010; 28: D3-D13
        • Seale H.
        • Heywood A.E.
        • McLaws M.L.
        • Ward K.F.
        • Lowbridge C.P.
        • Van D.
        • et al.
        Why do I need it? I am not at risk! Public perceptions towards the pandemic (H1N1) 2009 vaccine.
        BMC Infect Dis. 2010; 10: 99
        • Bouyer M.
        • Bagdassarian S.
        • Chaabanne S.
        • Mullet E.
        Personality correlates of risk perception.
        Risk Anal. 2001; 21: 457-465
        • Covello V.T.
        • Peters R.G.
        • Wojtecki J.G.
        • Hyde R.C.
        Risk communication, the West Nile virus epidemic, and bioterrorism: responding to the communication challenges posed by the intentional or unintentional release of a pathogen in an urban setting.
        J Urban Health. 2001; 78: 382-391
        • Fischhoff B.
        • Slovic P.
        • Lichtenstein S.
        • Read S.
        • Combs B.
        How safe is safe enough? A psychometric study of attitudes towards technological risks and benefits.
        Policy Sci. 1978; 9: 127-152
        • Krewski D.
        • Turner M.C.
        • Lemyre L.
        • Lee J.E.C.
        Expert vs. public perception of population health risks in Canada.
        J Risk Res. 2012; 15: 601-625
        • Granger M.G.
        • Fischhoff B.
        • Bostrom A.
        • Lave L.
        • Atman C.
        ES&T Features. Communicating risk to the public. First, learn what people know and believe.
        Environ Sci Technol. 1992; 26: 2048-2056
        • Heimberger T.
        • Chang H.G.
        • Shaikh M.
        • Crotty L.
        • Morse D.
        • Birkhead G.
        Knowledge and attitudes of healthcare workers about influenza: why are they not getting vaccinated?.
        Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol. 1995; 16: 412-415
        • Marshall R.J.
        Influenza vaccine use among health care workers: social marketing, policy, and ethics.
        Soc Marketing Q. 2013; 19: 222-229
        • Smedley J.
        • Poole J.
        • Waclawski E.
        • Stevens A.
        • Harrison J.
        • Watson J.
        • et al.
        Influenza immunisation: attitudes and beliefs of UK healthcare workers.
        Occup Environ Med. 2007; 64: 223-227
        • Weingarten S.
        • Riedinger M.
        • Bolton L.B.
        • Miles P.
        • Ault M.
        Barriers to influenza vaccine acceptance. A survey of physicians and nurses.
        Am J Infect Control. 1989; 17: 202-207
        • Willis B.C.
        • Wortley P.
        Nurses' attitudes and beliefs about influenza and the influenza vaccine: a summary of focus groups in Alabama and Michigan.
        Am J Infect Control. 2007; 35: 20-24
        • Hakim H.
        • Gaur A.H.
        • McCullers J.A.
        Motivating factors for high rates of influenza vaccination among healthcare workers.
        Vaccine. 2011; 29: 5963-5969
        • Rebmann T.
        • Wright K.S.
        • Anthony J.
        • Knaup R.C.
        • Peters E.B.
        Seasonal and H1N1 influenza vaccine compliance and intent to be vaccinated among emergency medical services personnel.
        Am J Infect Control. 2012; 40: 632-636
        • Rebmann T.
        • Wright K.S.
        • Anthony J.
        • Knaup R.C.
        • Peters E.B.
        Seasonal influenza vaccine compliance among hospital-based and nonhospital-based healthcare workers.
        Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol. 2012; 33: 243-249
        • Piccirillo B.
        • Gaeta T.
        Survey on use of and attitudes toward influenza vaccination among emergency department staff in a New York metropolitan hospital.
        Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol. 2006; 27: 618-622
        • Wicker S.
        • Rabenau H.F.
        • Gottschalk R.
        • Krause G.
        • McLennan S.
        Low influenza vaccination rates among healthcare workers. Time to take a different approach [in German].
        Bundesgesundheitsblatt Gesundheitsforschung Gesundheitsschutz. 2010; 53: 1298-1303
        • Festinger L.
        A theory of cognitive dissonance.
        Stanford University Press, Stanford [Calif]1985
        • Hayes A.F.
        • Krippendorff K.
        Answering the call for a standard reliability measure for coding data.
        Commun Methods Measures. 2007; 1: 77-89
        • Taylor S.E.
        • Brown J.D.
        Illusion and well-being: a social psychological perspective on mental health.
        Psychol Bull. 1988; 103: 193-210
        • Weinstein N.D.
        Optimistic biases about personal risks.
        Science. 1989; 246: 1232-1233
        • Weinstein N.D.
        • Klein W.M.
        Unrealistic optimism: present and future.
        J Soc Clin Psychol. 1996; 15: 1-8
        • Cho H.
        • Lee J.S.
        • Lee S.
        Optimistic bias about H1N1 flu: testing the links between risk communication, optimistic bias, and self-protection behavior.
        Health Comm. 2013; 28: 146-158