What Influences Ideas on Vaccines and Children’s Vaccination?
A Psychosocial Study on Mothers’ Representations, Values and Decision-Making Styles
Keywords:vaccination, mothers, representational field, values, decision-making
Although the complex reasons underlying parents’ decision whether to vaccinate their children have been largely unraveled, a socio-cognitive perspective on the representational field of vaccination is missing. This study is a contribution to fill such a gap. A sample of 309 Portuguese mothers with children aged 0-6 years answered a self-administered questionnaire. Results show that psychosocial variables such as the number of children modulate mothers’ representations of vaccination as a matter of freedom of choice and preference for natural immunity, while age of children and having (or not) searched for information influence their confidence in vaccines. Also, results show that representations related to freedom of choice, preference for natural immunity, and conspiracy theories are positively predicted by individualism values and a dependent decision-making style, whereas confidence in vaccines is positively associated with universalism values and a rational decision-making style. We discuss the implications of the socio-cognitive dynamics organizing mothers’ representations about vaccines and vaccination for the understanding of behaviors about vaccines and the development of tailored measures for vaccination promotion.
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