Information Vulnerability in Seniors and its Influence on H1N1 Influenza Vaccine Uptake

  • Author / Creator
    Lechelt, Leah A.
  • Communicating risk information to promote adoption of protective behaviours was challenging during the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic. Focus group research in Alberta, Canada involving 65 seniors aged 65 and older suggests this population had difficulty comprehending risk information due to inconsistent and sensationalized coverage in traditional media (television, newspapers) and low self-efficacy with online sources. I propose a new phenomenon, information vulnerability, as a consequence of seniors’ poor adaptation to this changing media environment. This vulnerability reduced seniors’ capacity to use analytic (scientific) information to assess H1N1 risk and led to preferential weighting of certain types or sources of positively affective (emotional) information, particularly personal experience, physicians and family members. These findings suggest that in the absence of clear, consistent risk information, prior attitudes and habituation related to seasonal influenza were determinants of H1N1 vaccine acceptance among seniors, whereas fear-based media messaging had little impact on vaccination decisions.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Spring 2013
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Science
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.