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J Health Commun. 2013;18(3):278-90. doi: 10.1080/10810730.2012.727960. Epub 2013 Jan 10.

The 2009 H1N1 Influenza Pandemic: the role of threat, coping, and media trust on vaccination intentions in Canada.

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Department of Neuroscience, Carleton University, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.


Swine flu (H1N1) reached pandemic proportions in 2009, yet ambivalence was met concerning intentions to be vaccinated. The present investigation determined predictors of perceived H1N1 contraction risk and vaccination intentions among Canadian adults (N = 1,027) responding to an online questionnaire. The relatively low rate of vaccination intent (30.12%, and 34.99% being unsure of their intent) was related to a sense of invulnerability regarding illness contraction and symptom severity. Most individuals were skeptical that H1N1 would be widespread, believing that less than 10% of the population would contract H1N1. Yet, they also indicated that their attitudes would change once a single person they knew contracted the illness. Also, worry regarding H1N1 was related to self-contraction risk and odds of individuals seeking vaccination. Moreover, vaccination intent was related to the perception that the threat was not particularly great, mistrust of the media to provide accurate information regarding H1N1, and whether individuals endorsed problem-focused versus avoidant coping strategies. Given the role media plays in public perceptions related to a health crisis, trust in this outlet and credibility regarding the threat are necessary for adherence to recommended measures to minimize health risk.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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