The Cognitive Decision-Making Process of Vaccine Hesitant Parents: Uncovering Personal Stories, Reasoning Biases, and Flawed Causal Knowledge to Develop and Test a Knowledge-Tailored Vaccine Educational Toolkit

University of Michigan-Flint

The goal of this project is to increase completion rates of pediatric immunization series by developing and testing an innovative, knowledge-tailored educational toolkit informed by an exploration of vaccine-hesitant parents’ cognitive decision-making (e.g., their personal vaccine stories, reasoning biases, and the ensuing flawed causal knowledge). The primary audience for this study is the vaccine-hesitant parents who request nonmedical vaccine waivers for their children ages 6 and under and attend a mandatory vaccine education class at Michigan’s Genesee County Health Department. The research will be conducted by an inter-disciplinary research team that includes researchers and practitioners from pediatrics, immunization and marketing fields. The research team will elicit parents’ deep-rooted and complex vaccine stories with a story/situation-based script and record key story elements, parents’ flawed causal knowledge about the safety and need of vaccines, and underlying reasoning biases. The research team will develop an innovative, knowledge-tailored vaccine educational toolkit that corrects parents’ flawed causal knowledge by addressing their reasoning biases within their very own vaccine stories. The effectiveness of this toolkit will be tested against the State of Michigan’s current, untailored vaccine educational program. This will be achieved by comparing the change in parental attitudes towards vaccines and the change in vaccination rates for the two groups of parents – the baseline group (parents who will have received the State of Michigan untailored vaccine education program), and the intervention group (parents who will have received the knowledge-tailored educational toolkit).

Full ProposalInterim ReportsFinal Report
Approval Date:
Jan 2016
Amount Awarded:
Start Date:
End Date:
In Progress
Pediatric Immunization Series Completion