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  • Author: Saška Roškar x
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Some factors affecting the decision on non-mandatory vaccination in an influenza pandemic: comparison of pandemic (H1N1) and seasonal influenza vaccination

Background: The 2009 influenza pandemic caused by the influenza A (H1N1) 2009 virus was accompanied by a debate about whether or not to be vaccinated. The percentage of people who decided to be vaccinated was lower than in the case of seasonal influenza vaccination. We therefore compared factors influencing the decision on pandemic and seasonal influenza vaccination.

Method: Slovene inhabitants aged 18 and over (N=1383) completed an internet based survey on socio-demographic and health behaviour-related characteristics, personality traits, and characteristics of decision-making. Two stepwise logistic regression analyses were performed, one with an uptake of the pandemic influenza vaccine and the other with an uptake of the seasonal influenza vaccine as a dependent variable.

Results: In addition to common predictors of a decision in favour of the two vaccinations (age, gender, chronic illnesses, working in healthcare, trust in media news and vaccination side-effects in someone close), deciding in favour of vaccination against the pandemic virus was related to living with children and thoroughness in decision-making. It was also related to being vaccinated against seasonal influenza, trust in pandemic vaccine safety and professional information in favour of vaccination, and the decision of someone close.

Conclusions: In the face of the pandemic threat and lack of information, people behaved as they had in previous similar situations and according to the behaviour of people close to them and information from trusted sources. Concern for children and decision-making characteristics also became important. These factors should be considered in future crisis interventions.

Abstract

Introduction

The existing literature provides evidence of the link between media reporting and suicide in terms of either preventive or provocative effects. Hence, working with media representatives on responsible reporting on suicide is of great importance. Until recently in Slovenia, there has been an obvious lack of communication between media representatives and suicidologists. The aims of the present study were twofold; firstly, to introduce the adaptation and dissemination of intervention on responsible media reporting, and secondly, to evaluate the effectiveness of the implemented intervention on suicide reporting.

Methods

We used a pre-post research design. Newspaper articles were retrieved over two 12-month periods: the baseline period and the follow-up period. In between, we had a year of implementation of our intervention program (launching and disseminating the Guidelines via workshops). Each retrieved article was rated qualitatively with respect to its adherence to the Guidelines.

Results

The comparison of baseline and follow-up periods revealed some significant differences. Reporting in the follow-up period was less sensationalistic, there was less reporting about specific cases of suicides and more about causes of suicide and pathways out of mental distress. Furthermore, in the follow-up period, there was a significant improvement related to headlines of media articles. Contact information about where to seek help was more often included in the articles.

Conclusion

The findings are promising, but working with the media needs to be continuous and ongoing if sustainable results are to be achieved.