Reports of social circles' and own vaccination behavior: A national longitudinal survey.


Perceiving greater percentage of 2010-2011 social circle vaccine coverage was associated with a greater likelihood of getting vaccinated in the 2010-2011 flu season (odds ratio [OR] = 1.03, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.01, 1.04) and the subsequent 2011-2012 flu season (OR = 1.02, 95% CI = 1.01, 1.03) but not the 2015-2016 flu season (OR = 1.00, 95% CI = .99, 1.01), as seen in logistic regressions that controlled for demographics and 2009-2010 vaccination behavior. All significant relationships between social circle vaccine coverage and own vaccination behavior were mediated by perceived flu risk without vaccination.

Flu vaccinations are recommended for almost everyone, but uptake may vary because of perceived social norms. We aimed to examine the relationship between perceived social circle vaccine coverage (including family, friends, and acquaintances) and own vaccination behavior as well as potential mediators.

Perceived social circle vaccine coverage is associated with own vaccination behavior in the current and subsequent flu season, establishing behavior patterns that may persist into the future. People's vaccination decisions may be informed by their perceptions of their peers' beliefs and behaviors. We discuss intervention strategies for promoting vaccine uptake by counteracting negative and promoting positive perceived social norms. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved).

In 2011, 357 participants from RAND's American Life Panel reported perceived social circle vaccine coverage for the 2010-2011 flu season, own vaccination behavior for the 2009-2010 and 2010-2011 flu seasons, perceived flu risk without and with vaccination, and perceived vaccine safety. In 2012 and 2016, respectively, participants returned to report their own vaccination behavior for the 2011-2012 flu season (N = 338) and 2015-2016 flu season (N = 216).

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