The behind-the-scenes activity of parental decision-making discourse regarding childhood vaccination

Published:November 14, 2016DOI:


      • Hesitant parents are more likely to conduct intra-family discussion on vaccination.
      • They are also more likely to have disagreements regarding vaccination.
      • Jewish parents are more likely to be vaccination-hesitant.
      • Muslim parents are more likely to be pro-vaccination.
      • Risk must be communicated to all groups, including those who are pro-vaccination.


      Vaccine compliance has long been a cause for concern for health authorities throughout the world. However very little effort has been made to examine parental discourse during the decision-making process.


      An online survey was conducted (N = 437) to examine predictors of parents' attitudes regarding childhood vaccination.


      Hesitant parents were 4 times more likely to conduct intrafamily discussion regarding vaccination compared with provaccination parents (Exp[B] = 4.26). There were no significant differences between hesitant and antivaccination parents with respect to intrafamily discussion. Hesitant parents were also 4 times more likely than provaccination parents to report intrafamily disagreements regarding vaccination (Exp[B] = 4.27). They were also twice as likely as antivaccination parents to express disagreements regarding vaccination within their families (Exp[B] = 2.33). Likewise, Jewish parents were significantly more likely to define themselves as vaccination-hesitant, whereas Muslim parents were significantly more likely to be provaccination.


      To improve the way health organizations communicate information about vaccines and increase parental trust in immunization programs, we should not only look at the level of understanding, perceptions, and biases of different groups, but also thoroughly examine parents' decision-making processes and the discourse during this process. We must communicate risk to all groups, including the provaccination group, to improve parents' decision making and the process of informed consent.

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