Format

Send to

Choose Destination
Soc Sci Med. 2019 Mar;224:23-27. doi: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2019.01.038. Epub 2019 Jan 29.

Accepters, fence sitters, or rejecters: Moral profiles of vaccination attitudes.

Author information

1
University of Western Australia, Australia.
2
University of Western Australia, Australia. Electronic address: mark.hurlstone@uwa.edu.au.

Abstract

RATIONALE:

Childhood vaccination is a safe and effective way of reducing infectious diseases. Yet, public confidence in vaccination is waning, driven in part by the 'manufacture of doubt' by anti-vaccination activists and websites. However, there is little research examining the psychological underpinnings of anti-vaccination rhetoric among parents.

OBJECTIVES:

Here, we examined the structure and moral roots of anti-vaccination attitudes amongst Australian parents active on social media parenting sites.

METHODS:

Participants (N = 296) completed questionnaires assessing their vaccination attitudes, behavioural intentions, and moral preferences.

RESULTS:

Using Latent Profile Analysis, we identified three profiles (i.e., groups), interpretable as vaccine "accepters", "fence sitters", and "rejecters", each characterised by a distinct pattern of vaccination attitudes and moral preferences. Accepters exhibited positive vaccination attitudes and strong intentions to vaccinate; rejecters exhibited the opposite pattern of responses; whilst fence sitters exhibited an intermediate pattern of responses. Compared to accepters, rejecters and fence sitters exhibited a heightened moral preference for liberty (belief in the rights of the individual) and harm (concern about the wellbeing of others). Compared to acceptors and fence sitters, rejecters exhibited a heightened moral preference for purity (an abhorrence for impurity of body), and a diminished moral preference for authority (deference to those in positions of power).

CONCLUSION:

Given the sensitivity of fence sitters and rejecters to liberty-related moral concerns, our research cautions against the use of adversarial approaches-e.g., No Jab, No Pay legislation-that promote vaccination uptake by restricting parental freedoms, as they may backfire amongst parents ambivalent toward vaccination.

KEYWORDS:

Liberty; Moral foundations theory; Moral profile; Vaccination; Vaccine hesitancy

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center