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Prev Med. 2000 Jul;31(1):49-55.

Mothers as active partners in the prevention of childhood diseases: maternal factors related to immunization status of preschool children in Italy.

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Laboratory for Mother and Child Health, Istituto di Ricerche Farmacologiche "Mario Negri,", Milan, Italy.



We examined how maternal socio-demographic factors, together with mother's education, knowledge, and perception of immunizations, can affect the uptake of optional vaccinations of preschool children in Italy.


Interviews of Italian mothers were performed using a structured questionnaire administered by trained interviewers with no specific medical competence.


A convenience sample of 1,035 mothers were interviewed. Fifty-nine percent of the respondents reported to have had their child immunized with the MMR vaccine and 54% reported to have had their child immunized against pertussis. In logistic regression analysis, three variables were significantly associated with both the immunization outcomes: mother's positive attitude toward immunization (OR = 1.69; IC 1.13-2.52 for pertussis; OR = 1.86, IC 1. 17-2.96 for MMR); mothers' residency in the North of the country (OR = 1.74; IC 1.32-2.30 for pertussis; OR = 1.63, IC 1.18-2.24 for MMR); and mother's receipt of satisfactory information on immunization (OR = 1.67; IC 1.15-2.21 for pertussis; OR = 2.25, IC 1. 47-3.43 for MMR). An immunization performed in recent years (after 1994), probably following the widespread use of acellular vaccine, was the most significant predictor for pertussis immunization (OR = 3.21; IC 2.43-4.24).


The findings suggest that mothers' attitudes, educational level, and socio-demographic characteristics, as well as socio-economic factors and local health policies, can influence children's immunization uptake. Health promotion, based on a partnership between parents and health professionals, should become a priority in Italian vaccination policies.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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