Is the cultural context of MMR rejection a key to an effective public health discourse?

Poltorak, Mike and Cassell, Jackie and Leach, Melissa and Mercer, C and Iversen, Angela and Fairhead, James (2006) Is the cultural context of MMR rejection a key to an effective public health discourse? Public Health, . pp. 783-794. ISSN 0033-3506. (Full text available)

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Abstract

Summary Objectives: (1) To explore the social and cultural influences, and health beliefs associated with low uptake of MMR (measles, mumps and rubella vaccine). (2) To describe and explore the prevalence of health beliefs associated with non- compliance with MMR, with a view to improving the personal relevance and impact of information for parents, in the context of persisting low uptake following public controversy. Methods: We undertook a survey of mothers’ experiences of and attitudes to the MMR, developed through ethnographic study, which was linked to maternal and child information on the Child Health Database in Brighton, England. Results: Mothers interpret MMR risk through concepts of child health embedded in family health history, with a majority both of compliers and non-compliers holding that each child’s immune system is unique. Cultural ‘risk factors’ for non-compliance relate strongly to the use of complementary healthcare, such as homeopathy, with evidence that rejection of vitamin K is associated with MMR non-compliance. Forty per cent, both of compliers and non-compliers, did not consider the possible benefits to other children of MMR. Conclusions: These findings have paradoxical and challenging consequences for the promotion of immunization in the policy context of increasing emphasis on healthy choices. They demonstrate the need for immunization information that acknowl- edges and addresses lay concepts of immunity.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: R Medicine
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA638 Immunity and immunization in relation to public health
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Anthropology and Conservation
Depositing User: Mike Poltorak
Date Deposited: 27 Feb 2015 10:14 UTC
Last Modified: 27 Feb 2015 10:14 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/47424 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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