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Global Projects


Why is Anti-Vaccine Communication so Persuasive?


The overarching goal of this project is to understand the strategies through which anti-vaccine advocates persuade people to delay or refuse childhood vaccinations. Understanding the tactics these individuals and groups use to further an anti-vaccine message is extremely informative for the development of strategies to counteract these messages and promote childhood vaccinations.

The first stage of this project involved a content analysis of over 1,000 anti-vaccine webpages. These webpages were coded for factors related to the persuasive strategies used as well as for the specific beliefs about vaccines being presented. Moreover, we coded websites for lifestyle indicators so that we could identify additional values, attitudes, behaviors and preferences associated with the anti-vaccine movement. This type of in-depth understanding of the broader culture supporting anti-vaccine decisions can be used to inform tailored pro-vaccine education and advocacy messages.