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J Health Psychol. 2016 May;21(5):781-7. doi: 10.1177/1359105314539527. Epub 2014 Jul 1.

Are parents more willing to vaccinate their children than themselves?

Author information

  • 1University College London, UK University of Manchester, UK.
  • 2University College London, UK.
  • 3University of Glasgow, Scotland.
  • 4University College London, UK


Risk perception studies have focused on personal risks; yet many decisions are taken for others. Some studies have suggested that parents are especially sensitive to risks to their children. We compared 245 parents' willingness to vaccinate their child versus themselves in nine hypothetical scenarios relating to influenza strains. Scenarios varied according to non-vaccination risk (low, medium and high) and 'risk target' (oneself, one's child or, as a comparator, one's elderly parent). Participants were more willing to vaccinate their child (61% acceptance) than themselves (54%) or their parent (56%). Parents may be more risk-sensitive when deciding for their child than for themselves.

© The Author(s) 2014.


children; health behaviour; health psychology; quantitative methods; risk

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