141st APHA Annual Meeting

In This section

Associations between anti-vaccine beliefs and sources of health information

Wednesday, November 6, 2013 : 1:30 PM - 1:45 PM

Meghan Bridgid Moran, PhD , School of Communication, San Diego State University, San Diego, CA
Lauren B. Frank, MHS, PhD , Department of Communication, Portland State University, Portland, OR
Sandra Ball-Rokeach, PhD , Annenberg School of Communication, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA
Sheila Murphy, PhD , Annenberg School of Communication, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA
Background: There is considerable misinformation regarding the safety and efficacy of vaccines. As a result, a significant number of parents refuse vaccination for their children or do not follow recommended vaccination schedules. This anti-vaccine sentiment is often accompanied by outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases. This study examines the association between sources of health information and anti-vaccine beliefs. Methods: Latina women (N=727) were recruited in clinics and community settings. Participants were asked items measuring vaccine-related beliefs, sources of health information and the extent of their connection to local health storytelling networks. Analyses controlled for socio-economic status and health insurance status. Results: Latinas who reported brochures, flyers or pamphlets as a top source of health information had slightly more positive vaccination attitudes than those who did not. Other traditional sources of health information (e.g. TV, newspapers) were not associated with anti-vaccine beliefs. Among those who used the internet for health information, certain websites were associated with either pro or anti-vaccine beliefs (F=2.1 (11,107), p < .05). For instance, Latinas who used Telemundo, MSN.com and Hola Doctor had stronger anti-vaccine beliefs whereas those who used Univision, PubMed and the CDC's website had more positive vaccine beliefs. Importantly, a strong connection to a health storytelling network was associated with more positive beliefs about vaccines. Conclusions: These findings indicate that certain sources of health information are associated with vaccine beliefs. Given current rates of vaccine acceptance, it is important to understand the nature of the information these sources provide and develop strategies to counteract anti-vaccine influence.

Learning Areas:
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Communication and informatics
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Identify sources of health information associated with anti-vaccine beliefs. Describe mechanisms underlying why certain sources of health information are linked to anti-vaccine beliefs. Explain how a health storytelling network can counteract anti-vaccine beliefs.

Keywords: Media, Immunizations

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I conceptualized and ran the analysis for the study, and developed the measures for anti-vaccine beliefs. For the past 3 years, I have been a significant contributor to the overarching project that produced the data for this study. I have conducted extensive research relating to media use/sources of health information and a variety of health behaviors.
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.