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“Wracking Their Own Brains“ – a Qualitative Analysis of Parental Scepticism About Vaccination

DOI: 10.3238/zfa.2015.0106-0110

german translation / full article

Kathrin Krüger, Jens Oliver Krüger

Keywords: Vaccine Hesitancy Parents Risk as Feelings Lack of Information Informed Choice

Background: The study focuses on parents objecting to common recommendations for childhood vaccination and therefore declining some or all vaccinations for their children. This paper attempts to contribute to the understanding of parents’ process of decision-making and to the question of how informative talk of health professionals with sceptic parents may be improved.

Methods: We conducted six semi-structured interviews with parents having refused at least one of the vaccinations recommended by the STIKO. The interviews were analysed based on discourse analysis and grounded theory.

Results: After doing their own research, parents didn’t feel well informed. Risks that are perceived on an emotional level were likely to influence the decision not to vaccinate. A certain role model of parental care was identified, which may lead parents to a sceptical attitude towards vaccinations as a matter of principle, referring to parental responsibility. However, parents identified the physician as an important advisor, on the base of a trustful relationship. Stereotyping, reprovals and lacking commitment to parent’s concerns were named as negative strategies used by health professionals.

Conclusions: While communicating with parents sceptical towards vaccinations, it may be helpful to elicit parents individual experiences and concerns in order to support parental decision-making based on “informed choice”.


(State: 18.03.2015)

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