Influence of the internet on children's vaccination : applying intercultural theories to analyze parental decision-making
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Subjectdecision making; discourse analysis; immunization; influence; intercultural communication; internet
Immunization is one of the greatest medical breakthroughs of modern history, reducing dozens of deadly diseases to preventable ones – even eradicating some entirely - yet parents are choosing to forgo vaccination for their children. Many of these parents are educated and affluent, with timely access to information on immunization's risks and benefits. How they use this information – to inform decision making on vaccination – is the subject of this research. Data for this study was gathered through semi-structured interviews with a small sample of six parents who researched vaccination on the Internet. Transcriptions were coded using discourse analysis and analysis applied Gudykunst’s theory of anxiety uncertainty management. Research reveals parents seek information to support preconceived bias toward vaccination as well as reduce anxiety and uncertainty on decision making. This research adds to the understanding of how online information influences parental decision-making in regards to immunization of their children.
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