Immunization status and sociodemographic characteristics: the mediating role of beliefs, attitudes, and perceived control

Am J Public Health. 1998 Dec;88(12):1821-6. doi: 10.2105/ajph.88.12.1821.


Objectives: This study examined how immunization-related beliefs, attitudes, and perceived control mediate up-to-date immunization among various sociodemographic groups.

Methods: Statewide estimates of immunization rates among children up to the age of 2 years were obtained via a multistage cluster sample. In-person interviews were conducted with 4832 parents. Information about immunization was obtained from official records or from health care providers.

Results: Differences in immunization among sociodemographic groups were mediated by beliefs about objective barriers to immunization, protection, medical contraindication, safety concerns, distrust, and natural immunity. Protection beliefs contributed to positive attitudes toward immunization; beliefs in natural immunity and safety concerns contributed to negative attitudes. Beliefs about objective barriers, distrust, safety concerns, and medical contraindications influenced perceived control over immunization. Positive attitudes and a strong sense of control contributed to higher immunization rates.

Conclusion: These findings provide a basis for efficient educational campaigns by specifying which beliefs should be bolstered (because they facilitate proper immunization) and which should be targeted for change (because they hinder proper immunization) in various sociodemographic groups.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Educational Status
  • Factor Analysis, Statistical
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Immunization / statistics & numerical data*
  • Infant
  • Internal-External Control*
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Parents / education
  • Parents / psychology*
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / psychology*
  • Sampling Studies
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Texas