Fear, rationality, and risky others: A qualitative analysis of physicians' and nurses' accounts of popular vaccine narratives

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3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Health professionals' perceptions of public engagement with narratives about vaccines offer a vantage point from which to observe emotion in their understandings of their roles, patients' anxieties, and the navigation of perceived risks. In this article, I report findings from interviews with twenty-seven physicians and seven nurses' about the role of emotion in public narratives about vaccination. I inform my analysis with narrative methodologies and literature about affect, emotion, and risks. In particular, I found that interviewees construct vaccine risk narrators and their narratives as risky Others who generate fears of vaccines, and who are responsible for low vaccination rates. In contrast, interviewees discuss their own opinions and statements from Public Health as evidence-informed. Although some interviewees mention allaying patient fears, others seem intent to evoke fears of disease to counter fears of vaccines by using emotional stories to convey information and emotion to patients. Notably, interviewees' use of stories and recognition of emotion in vaccine decision-making constructed the mobilization of fears of vaccine-preventable diseases as a reasonable tactic to raise vaccination rates.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)119-125
Number of pages7
JournalTechnology in Society
Volume55
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov. 2018

Keywords

  • Emotion
  • Fear
  • Public health
  • Qualitative research
  • Risk
  • Vaccination

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