, Volume 57, Issue 2, pp 333-340
Date: 16 Dec 2011

Similarity of parents and physicians in the decision to vaccinate children against measles, mumps and rubella

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Abstract

Objectives

This study investigates parental decisions to vaccinate their children against measles, mumps and rubella (MMR). Parent and provider survey data allow the analysis of interactions between these major players in decision making.

Methods

Three datasets are used for analysis: (a) the basic population of the school entry-level health checkup in Munich, Germany; (b) a face-to-face survey with parents of children taking the school entry-level health checkup; (c) a face-to-face survey of the physicians treating these children. Logistic, OLS and multilevel regressions were applied.

Results

Homophily due to similar ages of parents and physicians boosts the decision to vaccinate children against MMR. Also in relation to parent–physician interaction, the fact that a physician may be homeopathic has no effect on a parents’ decision to immunize, although vaccination-skeptical parents choose physicians who are trained in homeopathy.

Conclusions

Efforts to improve the number of parental decisions for vaccination should focus on the educational level of the parents as well as homophily of parents and physicians. Notably, homogeneity of parents and providers concerning age changes decisions in favor of vaccinating.