Understanding and predicting parental decisions about early childhood immunizations

Health Psychol. 2004 Jan;23(1):33-41. doi: 10.1037/0278-6133.23.1.33.


This research investigated the factors that influence decisions about immunizations. Women in the third trimester of pregnancy (N=195) rated their likelihood of immunizing their child; stated their reasons for and against immunizing; and rated their perceptions of the benefits and risks of immunization, feelings of responsibility, and anticipated regret if harm occurred. Immunization status was determined at follow-up. Stepwise regression analyses demonstrated that immunization decisions are strongly influenced by omission bias factors such as anticipated responsibility and regret variance (which explained more than 50% of variance). It is suggested that parents may benefit from antenatal decision aids that address omission bias and encourage them to assess benefits and risks of immunizations on the basis of scientific evidence.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Affect
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Child Welfare
  • Child, Preschool
  • Decision Making*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Immunization*
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Parents / psychology*
  • Risk Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires