Objective: Immunization rates among medicine and nursing students -and among health professional in general- during hospital training are low. It is necessary to investigate the causes for these low immunization rates. The objective of this study was to design and validate a questionnaire for exploring the attitudes and behaviours of medicine and nursing students toward immunization of vaccine-preventable diseases.
Methods: An instrument validation study. The sample included 646 nursing and medicine students at University of Oviedo, Spain. It was a non-ramdom sampling. After the content validation process, a 24-item questionnaire was designed to assess attitudes and behaviours/behavioural intentions. Reliability (ordinal alpha), internal validity (exploratory factor analysis by parellel analysis), ANOVA and mediational model tests were performed.
Results: Exploratory factor analysis yielded two factors which accounted for 48.8% of total variance. Ordinal alpha for the total score was 0.92. Differences were observed across academic years in the dimensions of attitudes (F5.447=3.728) and knowledge (F5.448=65.59), but not in behaviours/behavioural intentions (F5.461=1.680). Attitudes demonstrated to be a moderating variable of knowledge and attitudes/behavioural attitudes (Indirect effect B=0.15; SD=0.3; 95% CI:0.09-0.19).
Conclusions: We developed a questionnaie based on sufficient evidence of reliability and internal validity. Scores on attitudes and knowledge increase with the academic year. Attitudes act as a moderating variable between knowledge and behaviours/behavioural intentions.
Keywords: Attitude to Health; Health Behavior; Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice; Immunization; Medical students; Questionnaire; Spain; Students, Nursing; Vaccines.