246189 Cultural worldview, perceived risk, and vaccination policy preferences

Monday, October 31, 2011: 10:45 AM

Geoboo Song , Center for Applied Social Research, University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK
Carol Silva, PhD , Center for Applied Social Research, University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK
Hank Jenkins-Smith, PhD , Center for Applied Social Research, University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK
Heather Basara, PhD , Center for Applied Social Research, University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK
n the past 20 years public concern about the relationship between childhood vaccines and autism have increased. Despite scientific findings that underscore the safety of vaccines and their efficacy in preventing serious infectious diseases, public perception of risk has remained if not increased. As a result, the United States and other developed nations are facing a rising incidence of preventable and deadly infectious diseases while grappling with resistance to the mandatory vaccine programs designed to prevent such diseases. Thus, to study the underlying cultural and political motivations for risk perceptions and decision making, a nationwide Internet survey of 1,213 U.S. adults was conducted to study differing public opinions on vaccination policies. Survey data were used to analyze both perceptions about risks and benefits associated with vaccines and policy preferences related to vaccine programs. The survey focused on the roles of political ideology and cultural orientation: political ideology influenced support for mandatory childhood vaccinations, while cultural orientation influenced both risk/benefit perceptions and support for mandatory vaccinations. The “fatalist” category of cultural orientation was associated with substantially higher perceived risks from vaccines and greater opposition to mandatory childhood vaccinations. The “hierarch” and “egalitarian” orientations were associated with greater perceived benefits from vaccinations, and greater support for mandatory vaccination programs. The “individualist” orientation tended to reject mandatory programs and favored parental decision-making for childhood vaccinations. Understanding to influence of culture and political ideology provides necessary insight for public health policy making and also informs health promotion messaging.

Learning Areas:
Protection of the public in relation to communicable diseases including prevention or control
Public health or related public policy
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
1. Explain how perception of risk and cultural worldview influence policy preferences concerning childhood vaccination.

Keywords: Disease Prevention, Public Policy

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have designed and conducted the analysis.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.