Parents of children with autism: Issues surrounding childhood vaccination

April M. Young, Abigail Elliston, Lisa A. Ruble

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Parents of children with autism (PCA) are among those most affected by the controversy surrounding supposed links between vaccines and autism. In this chapter we describe the vaccine attitudes of PCA and their association with satisfaction with their child's healthcare provider. Fifty PCA completed questionnaires on vaccine attitudes, exposure to media discussing links between vaccines and autism ('vaccine-autism media'), and satisfaction with their child's healthcare. These characteristics, as well as autism severity and child cognitive functioning, were examined for their correlation with parents' belief that vaccines caused autism and desire to refuse future vaccination. The majority endorsed vaccines as effective and necessary, yet 56% believed they contributed to autism's cause and 16% would discourage others' vaccination. Nearly 80% discussed concerns with their child's provider and felt they were taken seriously. Attitudes were not associated with parents' demographic characteristics or satisfaction with healthcare, but were associated with trust in health institutions, vaccine safety, exposure to vaccineautism media, and child's lower cognitive functioning. Conclusions: Although parents reported positive communication with providers, doubts about safety and exposure to vaccine-autism media were common. These findings underscore the importance for targeted campaigns addressing PCA's concerns and to mitigate mistrust.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationChild and Adolescent Health Issues (A Tribute to the Pediatrician Donald E Greydanus)
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9781634635769
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (all)


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