Study shows parents' vaccination intentions differ based on information provided

A recent study conducted by Indiana University found that the framing of parent-targeted messages about the benefits of measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccination influenced parents' intentions to immunize their children.

The study, which appeared in an advance online version of the September issue of Pediatrics, found that parents who viewed informational materials highlighting the benefits to their own children indicated they were more likely to vaccinate their baby against MMR, ScienceDaily reports.

"If we are going to increase childhood vaccine acceptance, we need to communicate more effectively about the benefits of vaccines, to help parents feel that they are making a more informed decision," Kristin Hendrix, a social psychologist and the lead researcher on the study, said, according to ScienceDaily.

The study consisted of an online survey of 802 parents of infant children younger than 12 months of age. Each parent was given one of four messages regarding MMR vaccination and instructed to keep his or her infant in mind when responding to the information.

The results showed that parents who saw text highlighting direct benefits to their child said they were significantly more likely to have them vaccinated than those shown a message with basic information about the disease or the societal benefits of vaccination, ScienceDaily reports.