The influence of vaccine-critical websites on perceiving vaccination risks

J Health Psychol. 2010 Apr;15(3):446-55. doi: 10.1177/1359105309353647.


This large-scale Internet-experiment tests whether vaccine-critical pages raise perceptions of the riskiness of vaccinations and alter vaccination intentions. We manipulated the information environment (vaccine-critical website, control, both) and the focus of search (on vaccination risks, omission risks, no focus). Our analyses reveal that accessing vaccine-critical websites for five to 10 minutes increases the perception of risk of vaccinating and decreases the perception of risk of omitting vaccinations as well as the intentions to vaccinate. In line with the 'risk-as-feelings' approach, the affect elicited by the vaccine-critical websites was positively related to changes in risk perception.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Data Collection
  • Decision Making
  • Female
  • Germany
  • Health Education / methods
  • Humans
  • Internet*
  • Male
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care*
  • Risk Assessment*
  • Vaccines*


  • Vaccines