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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Arizona: Disgust as an Emotional Driver of Vaccine Attitudes and Uptake? A Mediation Analysis

Research on the drivers of vaccine acceptance has expanded but most interventions fall short of coverage targets. In an article published in the open access journal Epidemiology & Infection, Dr. Heidi Brown, assistant professor and epidemiologist at the University of Arizona Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health and colleagues, explored whether vaccine uptake is driven directly or indirectly by disgust with attitudes towards vaccines acting as a possible mediator.

The researchers conducted an online cross-sectional study of 1007 adults in the U.S. via Amazon’s Mechanical Turk in January 2017. The questionnaire consisted of four sections: items assessing attitudes towards vaccines and vaccine uptake; revised Disgust Scale (DS-R) to measure Disgust Sensitivity;  Perceived Vulnerability to Disease scale (PVD) to measure Germ Aversion and Perceived Susceptibility; and socio-demographic information.

Using mediation analysis, the investigators assessed the direct, the indirect (through Vaccine Attitudes) and the total effect of Disgust Sensitivity, Germ Aversion and Perceived Susceptibility on 2016 self-reported flu vaccine uptake.

Mediation analysis showed the effect of Disgust Sensitivity and Germ Aversion on vaccine uptake to be twofold: a direct positive effect on vaccine uptake and an indirect negative effect through Vaccine Attitudes. In contrast, Perceived Susceptibility was found to have only a direct positive effect on vaccine uptake. Nonetheless, these effects were reduced and small compared to economic, logistic and psychological determinants of vaccine uptake.

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