Byrne, Claire, Walsh, Jane, Kola, Susanna and Sarma, Kiran M. (2012) Predicting intention to uptake H1N1 influenza vaccine in a university sample. British Journal of Health Psychology, 17 (3). pp. 582-595. ISSN 1359-107X

Objective. Global pandemic H1N1 was atypical of influenza in that it was associated with high symptom severity among young adults. Higher education institutions were therefore understandably concerned about the potential for high infection rates among students. This study examined intention to uptake H1N1 vaccine between November and December 2009, when the virus was classified by the World Health Organization (WHO) as being in the pandemic phase.

Design. A cross-sectional survey design was employed.

Method. Two hundred university students completed a questionnaire battery comprised of health, belief/attitudes, and behavioural intention measures.

Results. Findings suggested that non-intention to vaccinate is associated with a strong disbelief in its efficacy, in negative attitudes towards vaccinations, and in lack of perceived threat, which is underscored by a disinterest in others’ opinions, including authoritative bodies. Findings also suggested that there is resistance to the idea of vaccinations being mandatory.

Conclusions. Vaccination intent is in some way linked to a range of attitudes and beliefs. The implication for health practitioners is that behaviour intent may be open to influence where psycho-education can create pro-vaccine attitudes and beliefs.

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