Silent Majority: Childhood Vaccinations and Antecedents to Communicative Action

Brooke Weberling McKeever, Robert McKeever, Avery E. Holton, Jo Yun Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations

Abstract

The topic of childhood vaccinations has received much news media attention recently, prompting scholars to examine how the public has responded. In light of this news, and the deep divide that seems to exist between parents who support childhood vaccinations and those who do not, this study examines how and why individuals may involve themselves in communication about vaccinations, particularly on social media or in other online environments. Focusing on the concept of communicative action and drawing from spiral of silence and other research, a survey of mothers (N = 455) found that those who do not support childhood vaccinations are more likely to engage in communication about the issue, including information seeking, attending, forefending, permitting, forwarding, and sharing. In addition, issue importance and affective and cognitive involvement help drive communicative action regarding childhood vaccinations, which could affect public opinion or public perceptions of the issue. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)476-498
Number of pages23
JournalMass Communication and Society
Volume19
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 3 2016
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication

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